A Map of Home recently won the prestigious Hopwood Award. Here's what one of our favorite Arab American writers/poets, Naomi Shihab Nye, had to say about this debut novel:
"Jazzy, and vastly intelligent and fun. Jarrar is a wonderworker with delectable details and sweet swerves of surprise. I adore her multicultural mix and her wry, punchy attitude and think she embodies some crucial new-world Arab-American that I wish the whole world could see, the old worlds and the smug self-satisfied pundits who think they can know or guess what a creative spirit might really be. I turn to her for gusto." - Naomi Shihab Nye
Click here to purchase a copy [a small portion of your purchase will benefit Levantine Cultural Center, thanks!]
"The narrator, Nidali Ammar, is delightful company through these pages that take us from her birth in Boston to her childhood in Kuwait to her flight during the first Gulf War to the relatively safe haven of Alexandria, Egypt, then from Egypt to the United States once again. Nidali must negotiate the confusion of being part Greek, Palestinian, Egyptian, and American, but more than this she lives in perpetual exile. Hers is a particularly complicated immigrant story, since she is continually arriving and adjusting only to depart, arrive, and adjust again. On her map of home, the borders are never fixed. ...Funny, surprising, and fully alive." -Porter Shreve
"Randa’s novel possesses perfect pitch. Her language is pure music and completely original. Anyone can readily appreciate its sound, how it takes what is best about colloquial English (and some hip-hop lingo) with the beauty of the colloquial Arabic and together a new future language of the Americas springs up. But not only is the "sound" of the novel, the narrative voice so perfect and seamless the reader is helpless and insatiable: the characters are unique and alive, born storytellers and poets that fill the pages with fierce beauty and a passionate sense of community that spans continents and generations." - Leslie Marmon Silko
[Jarrar] is a born storyteller...stories pour from her fingers, and yet she's also managed to organize them into a vivid arc. She brings to life a world at the nexus of childhood and war, the Mediterranean and the Arab world; she's created a kind of Liar's Club or Angela's Ashes of the Middle East. As her young narrator says, "There's no telling where home starts, and where it ends." [Jarrar's] voice is alive on the page and her eye for detail is keen. I think of myself as a fairly hard-bitten reader, but I laughed aloud several times at her narrator's comments on life and family. I fought a few tears, as well." -Elizabeth Kostova
Kirkus: (Starred Review)
... Jarrar is a funny, incisive writer, and she’s positively heroic in her refusal to employ easy sentimentality or cheap pathos. Nidali is a misfit living through calamitous times, but Jarrar understands that all adolescents feel like misfits living through calamitous times. ...Publishers Weekly: (Starred Review)
A coming-of-age story that’s both singular and universal—an outstanding debut.
Jarrar's sparkling debut about an audacious Muslim girl growing up in Kuwait, Egypt and Texas is intimate, perceptive and very, very funny. ... Jarrar explores familiar adolescent ground—stifling parental expectations, precarious friendships, sensuality and first love—but her exhilarating voice and flawless timing make this a standout.