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The Map of Salt and Stars - Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

The Map of Salt and Stars - Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

This is book № 542 of an exclusive edition of 700 copies

Title: The Map of Salt and Stars

Author:  Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

ISBN:  9781474606752

Weight:  917g

Numbered signed first edition, first printing




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The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

Nour is a young Syrian girl who has lost her father to cancer.  Wanting to be close to her relatives, Nour’s mother – a cartographer who makes beautiful hand-painted maps – moves her family back to the city of Homs.

Nour’s father was a real storyteller and he told her that the roots of the trees connect to the ground across the world.  She knows they left her father in the ground back in America, so she starts telling him the ancient fable of Rawiya, whispering it into the ground so he might hear.

Rawiya left her home dressed as a boy in order to explore the world.  She became apprenticed to Al Idrisi, who was a famous cartographer tasked by King Roger II of Sicily to make the first map of the world.  Together with Al Idrisi, Rawiya travelled the globe, encountering adventures – including the mythical Roc and a battle in the Valley of Snakes – along the way.  It is this story that gives Nour the courage to keep going when she has to leave Homs after it is bombed and faces a long journey as a refugee in search of a new home – a journey that closely mirrors that of Rawiya many centuries before.

When Nour and her sister are forced to part from their mother, she gives them a special map that contains clues that will lead them to safety.  The two stories are beautifully told and interwoven, the real interspersed with the magical/imagined so that the overall effect is uplifting – about the strength of the human spirit, the strength of women in particular, the power of a journey, and what it takes to find a home.

Peer & Press Reviews

In Joukhadar’s intoxicating debut, the past and present are brought to life, illuminating how, in exile, neither can exist without the other.  With clear, exquisite prose, Joukhadar unspools a brightly imagined tale of family and grief, mapmaking and migration.  This important book is a love letter to the vanished – and to what remains.

Hala Alyan, author of Salt Houses

Joukhadar’s prose is like a dream, which is fitting for this pair of stories, one drawn from fantastical legend, the other from nightmarish current events from which Syria has yet to awaken.

Seattle Times

E. M. Forster taught us that ‘fiction is truer than history because it goes beyond the evidence.’  Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar’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 way west.  It’s beautiful and lovely and eye-opening.

Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant

Bibliographic Info

TitleThe Map of Salt and Stars
Book Features
Edition / printingFirst edition, first printing
Edition background:

This numbered edition of 700 copies was commissioned by a leading London bookshop working in association with the publisher.

Each book has a tipped-in authentication page, directly before the title page, that confirms the book’s handwritten number.  Also printed on this page is the book’s title, the author’s name, the name of the publisher and the month / year of publication.

The distinctive electric blue sprayed page edges make this book noticeably different from the standard trade edition.

Book number542 of 700
Overall conditionFine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
SignedOn the tipped-in number authentication page
Awards and Media
Awards and prizesWilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2019 – shortlist
Book Stats
PublisherOrion Publishing Group
ImprintWeidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication date
Printed byClays Ltd, Bungay
ISBN 139781474606752
ISBN 10147460675X
FormatHardcover with dust jacket
Size (h x w x d)242 x 163 x 33mm
Image and Design Credits
Author photographTina Case Photography
DesignCharlotte Abrams-Simpson
Text designKyle Kabel
Jacket photographAlamy / Shutterstock

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