The Map of Salt and Stars: A Novel

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Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar’s debut novel, The Map of Salt and Stars, moves between two sweeping narratives linked together by landscape: a contemporary account of a Syrian refugee and a medieval tale of a mapmaker’s assistant.

While grieving the recent death of her father, Nour, along with her cartographer mother and two older sisters, leave New York City to return to their family living in Syria. Nour’s mother is surprised to find how the Syria of her childhood has transformed; it is now frightening and dangerous with bombs and protests. When a shell destroys their home and threatens their lives, Nour and her family set out on a desperate search for safety.

In the Middle Ages, sixteen-year-old Rawiya dreams of exploring the world. In order to join the crew of the respected geographer al-Idrisi, who is on a quest to create a world map for his good friend King Roger II of Sicily, Rawiya must disguise herself as a boy; so she cuts off her hair and calls herself Rami. Not only does Rawiya’s heroic journey across the Middle East and North Africa mirror Nour’s, but they both bravely pursue refuge and belonging.

The Map of Salt and Stars is a harrowing adventure that treasures storytelling and emphasizes the importance of knowing one’s origin and discovering one’s destiny. With terrifying risks, upsetting tragedies, and a touch of romance, this beautifully executed and moving story is unforgettable.


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Author Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 368 pages
Publisher Touchstone
Publish Date 2018-May-01
ISBN 9781501169038
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2018
Category Modern Literature
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