January 27, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Book review: Alia Malek’s The Home That Was Our Country mirrors the tragedy of Syria

1 min read

By Marcia Lynx Qualey

Alia Malek

Nation Books,


Alia Malek’s newly released The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria follows the author as she struggles to reclaim her grandmother’s Damascus home, her family narrative and her country’s history.

In broad strokes, Malek’s second work of non-fiction is much like Lebanese-American journalist Anthony Shadid’s House of Stone (2012). Both narratives required a steady hand, as they thread through family lore and violently contested histories.

But The Home That Was Our Country sets off through even rougher terrain. Malek wrote her book in the early years of Syria’s civil war. As the reader picks it up, the war still rages, its effects felt around the world.

The book’s lodestone is the author’s maternal grandmother, Salma. It begins with the story of Salma’s father Abduljawwad, who was born during the Ottoman era. This history is compelling and it creates a fluid, multilayered portrait of Syria’s people. Read more

Source: The National