The Map of Salt and Stars

The Map of Salt and Stars Review

This rich, moving, and lyrical debut novel is to Syria what The Kite Runner was to Afghanistan; the story of two girls living eight hundred years apart—a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker—places today’s headlines in the sweep of history, where the pain of exile and the triumph of courage echo again and again.

It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates unusual, hand-painted maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. But the country Nour’s mother once knew is changing, and it isn’t long before protests and shelling threaten their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety. As their journey becomes more and more challenging, Nour’s idea of home becomes a dream she struggles to remember and a hope she cannot live without.

More than eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya, sixteen and a widow’s daughter, knows she must do something to help her impoverished mother. Restless and longing to see the world, she leaves home to seek her fortune. Disguising herself as a boy named Rami, she becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, who has been commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the world. In his employ, Rawiya embarks on an epic journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where she encounters ferocious mythical beasts, epic battles, and real historical figures.

A deep immersion into the richly varied cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, The Map of Salt and Stars follows the journeys of Nour and Rawiya as they travel along identical paths across the region eight hundred years apart, braving the unknown beside their companions as they are pulled by the promise of reaching home at last.

Title:The Map of Salt and Stars
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Angela M

    There have been quite a few novels written over the last several years about the refugee experience, mostly how they are trying to manage their new lives in the US. This book was somewhat different wi...

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    4 colorful and descriptive stars to The Map of Salt and Stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ The Syrian civil war and refugee crisis stay in the forefront of my mind most days. I am heartbroken. I am deeply worried...

  • Hannah Greendale

    For the first time in years, I think of something Mama told me when I was little: that when you make a map, you don’t just paint the world the way it is. You paint your own. Joukhadar alternates b...

  • Emer

    Happy book birthday to this wonderful book!!!You know that wonderful feeling when you read the last page of a truly great story and then you clutch the book to your chest as if to hug the world within...

  • Erin

    3.5 heartwarming stars Full Disclosure, I chose this book based on its stunning cover, its eye-catching title, and the fact that the synopsis drops in the comparison to The Kite Runner . Set against t...

  • Maxwell

    A wonderful and heartbreaking story that follows a refugee family in 2011 and an explorer in the 1200s, showing how their lives parallel one another and intertwine across time and space. The motif of ...

  • katwiththehat

    I enjoyed this debut that took us through twelve-year-old Noor’s journey as her family moves from New York to Syria in 2011, then is almost immediately forced to flee Syria once the war begins and h...

  • Chris

    “E. M. Forster taught us that ‘fiction is truer than history than history because it goes beyond the evidence.’ Jennifer Zeynab Maccani’s magic first novel is a testimony to that maxim. We’v...

  • Marialyce

    I am going to admit I had a hard time staying with this book. It was one of the cases where I would read a chapter put the book down to return later. It was not that the writing was poor. Point in fac...

  • Touchstone Books

    It would be impossible to overstate how proud we are to be publishing this gorgeous and important novel. Nour's voice will capture your heart and linger in your mind long after you read the final page...