The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

The Map of Salt and Stars

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 ca...

Details The Map of Salt and Stars

TitleThe Map of Salt and Stars
Release DateMay 1st, 2018
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews The Map of Salt and Stars

  • Emer
    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 those pages? That's how I'm feeling right now. I loved this book. It was so simple and honest, laden with the most lyrically beautiful prose, and filled with gloriously human characters whose stories have touched me deeply. The story unfurls through two time periods. In the contemporary settin...
  • 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’ve all been aware of the plight of Syrian refugees, but in this richly imaginative story we see one small family – both haunted by history and saved by myth – work their west. It’s beautiful and lovely and eye-opening.”
  • 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. Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar is not only immensely talented, but has a story that needs to be told.
  • RoseMary Achey
    You cannot read this book without gaining a new respect for Syrian Refugees. In this richly drawn story a contempoary Syrian family is torn apart after their home is destroyed. As the family attempts to escape the violence and leave Syria the reader is given an intimate window to the experience through the voice of a 12 year old girl. Concurrently we travel back to twelfth century as another fatherless girl leaves home to apprentice with cartogr...
  • Linda Quinn
    This lyrical, beautiful debut novel charts the course of two remarkable young women, traveling parallel journeys hundreds of years apart. While one is a mythical tale along the lines of Arabian Nights, the other is a much more modern and heartbreaking story of a young woman and her family trying to find safety in their escape from war torn Syria. I will be recommending this novel to everyone as I think it will be an important reminder of the huma...
  • KC
    This debut novel takes readers on two journeys some 800 years apart. It is 2011 and after the death of her father, 12 yr old Nour and her family travel from NYC back to Syria to be closer to family. Her mother, a cartographer, hopes that the move will be comforting to them all, but soon after among the protests and bombings, their house is destroyed and while one sister is injured they find themselves needing to flee. 800 years prior, 16 yr old R...
  • Mary
    4.5 stars. “What are the most important places on a map?” “The places you’ve never been.” This stunningly written, heartbreakingly beautiful (but ultimately, hopeful) story is a rich, multilayered + sweeping saga, connecting two incredible heroines across the better part of nearly a millennia. This is not a story to gulp down quickly– it requires attention and connection, a full experiencing of both the horrific tragedy within its pag...
  • Lynn
    A sweeping look at the Muslim world from Syria around the Mediterranean to Algeria. Two harrowing journeys: In one, a group of mapmakers mount camels to plot the geography of the known world, battling warlords, kings and the fantastic mythical beast Roc; 800 years later, a mother, who draws maps for a living [every map is, after all, a story] with three daughters, Nour, Huda and Zahra, moves from New York City to Homs, in Syria, as the mother wan...
  • Paula Sealey
    I confess to having a hard time connecting with this book. The story of a Syrian family, it follows them on their hard journey after their home is destroyed by a shell. It is broken up with a second story; retold by one of the young girls, a fable that her late father used to read to her. Unfortunately I didn't find these chapters very engaging and after a while began to skim through them as they were quite long. I felt they interrupted the flow ...
  • Jade
    Oh my gosh this book is absolutely beautiful!! Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar’s writing is lyrical, music, a canvas that she paints in such vivid colors as you read.The Map of Salt and Stars is the story of two stories in parallel, 800 years apart. Nour, a 12 year old Syrian-American, goes back to Syria with her mother and two sisters after her father dies in 2012, and then nearly dies herself when a bomb smashes her family’s home in Homs to rubbl...
  • Abby Johnson
    Two alternating stories tell the harrowing tale of a trio of sisters forced to flee with their family after their Syrian town is bombed. Twelve-year-old Nour, still mourning the recent loss of her father, makes it a point to tell one of his stories as she travels so that she can still feel close to him, so we get the story of Rawiya, a girl 800 years earlier who disguises herself as a boy to apprentice to a map-maker. In these two stories, we fol...
  • Stuart Rodriguez
    Good lord—this is an incredible novel. ARC reviewed for Bookshop Santa Cruz’s spring/summer newsletter.This deeply moving and gorgeously written novel follows the intertwining stories of two young women: in 2011, Nour is a Syrian-American girl whose family becomes refugees as they escape the Syrian Civil War, while 800 years earlier, Rawiya leaves her home in Cueta in search of adventure and disguises herself as a boy to apprentice with the w...
  • Ciara Noonan
    I thought this book was a gem. A heartbreaking one but a gem nonetheless. Little sweet Nour has her life ripped apart, not once with the death of her beloved Baba, but twice with the deteriorating state of politics causing war in Syria. I think (or I would like to think) that we are all somewhat familiar with the situation in Syria; the news stories about sunken boats carrying innocent men, women and children across to safer lands, the current bo...
  • Elainedav
    This is a brilliantly written novel concerning the very current issue of the ongoing unrest in Syria and resulting migration of families as they flee homes which are destroyed. In fact there are two stories woven together in a current timeline alongside a centuries old timeline.In the current timeline, we hear from Nour, a 12 year old girl, as she leaves Syria with her family and heads towards Ceuta, the Spanish town on the north African coast. T...
  • Laurie's Lit Picks
    A topical and powerful setting for a debut novel, this book moves between two unique times: medieval Syria where a famous Muslim mapmaker and his legendary female apprentice fight mythical creatures, Crusaders, and the elements to map the world as it is known; and Syria in 2011, where a widowed mapmaker returns with her three teenage girls, after years in NYC, to find family and cultural connections, but runs straight into the Arab spring and a c...
  • Victoria
    This is such a beautifully written book. Telling two stories side by side throughout the book, one of three girls, with a focus on Nour who have left the US for Syria and the story of Rawiya who leaves home to discover the world and become a cartographer, these stories just bloom as this book goes on. The story is beautifully written, descriptive and elegant. The Map Of Salt And Stars is really such a fantastic read and once you have started it i...
  • Marta
    I was one of the fortunate ones to receive an Advance Reader’s Edition of this novel. I’m a literary fiction lover at heart and this novel had sufficient “from the heart” moments to keep me interested. I will say that Nour’s story appealed more to me than Rawiya’s epic tale simply because I personally don’t gravitate towards the imaginary/magical etc. This novel is filled with strong female characters that strive to make sense of th...
  • Kaiti
    I was given a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.This book is not what I expected. I expected suspense and fear, edge of your seat kind of stuff. And that was a minor part of this, but really this book is about hope and family and what keeps people together. Remembering it's narrated by a prepubescant girl helps when you think about why it seems to gloss over some things. We see the world through Nour's eyes.Some of ...
  • BrocheAroe
    Scheherazade's "The Thousand and One Nights" meets Alan Gratz's "Refugee" in this important debut novel. A 12th century fable about an apprentice mapmaker is interwoven with a modern-day Syrian refugee searching for home, as the plot follows both girls through the Middle East, encountering tremendous dangers and immense acts of kindness. A must-read for teens and adults, this is an incredibly moving and lushly described story of family and friend...
  • Seth
    Beautifully written with lush detail. A wonderfully woven tale of two women seeking home in their own ways. Learning that home is much more than a country or even a city on a map. They each discover the maps within through their courageous and very daunting journeys across the landscapes of the Middle East. Each creating their own map filled with stories, people and experiences. Drawing both on the real struggles of refugees of today and the intr...
  • Jennifer
    Received a free copy for honest review.This is a wonderful, imaginative novel that I highly recommend. The author weaves the lives of two young Syrian girl's life stories together for an unforgettable read. In one a modern Syrian family tries to escape the violence of Syria as told by a 12 year old girl. The second girls story begins in the 12 century where she leaves home and becomes a cartographers apprentice. This is a complex but easy to read...
  • Chris devine
    So, this novel is pretty much two separate stories, one about a refugee family, and one set hundreds of years ago. The modern day refugee story was ok, it dragged in spots, but was pretty well written. The second story is kind of a fantasy tale, with a giant talking eagle plotting revenge against a young girl dressed as a boy. Oh, and theres some kind of magic stone. Rocks show up a lot in both stories for some reason too. Don't go out of your wa...
  • ~Krystal
    I tried to love this book because everyone else I knew loved this book. The premise was good, but the story swapping in the middle of chapters was too much, I hate that writing style and I couldn't get past it, and the book had so much side stuff I just didn't care about. I'm sorry. I tried, I really really did
  • Jennie Shaw
    THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS is a magnificent blend of fiction and fable. I won't lie; it's a challenging read from an emotional standpoint. I had to put it down after certain chapters because I was too upset to continue. I feel like my heart was cracked open and then patched together in the end. Five stars all the way.Big thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC!
  • David V.
    Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 3-31-18. Finished 4-4-18. Two stories going on at once: in the 1100's a mapmaker and his associates are traveling under the protection of the king of Palermo across the Mediterranean area mapping and designing a scale model (to be made of silver); while at the present time a Syrian family (in which the mother is a mapmaker) is moving back to Syria from New York City. They become victims of Syria's ci...
  • Marc Chua
    I considered the Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar to be a touching memoir of the plight of a Syrian family. I believe this book is to Syrian heritage the Kite Runner is to Afghanistan. All in all, a great read.
  • Susan
    What an amazing read. Beautifully crafted parallel stories of Nour, a modern day Syrian refugee, and Rawiya, an apprentice mapmaker in the 11th Century. Nour has synesthesia and the author manages to convey to the reader how Nour hears the world. Loved it!
  • Alyson
    I loved this book! I think I need to reread it before I can even comment more.
  • Mel
    this is my favorite book. will return here. you should go there.
  • Louise
    I enjoyed this book very much. Joukhadar has done a great job of bringing the past and future together and helping one get a glimpse of the situation and history of Syria.