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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut

Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut - Salma Abdelnour

Salma Abdelnour is a travel and food writer so this memoir of her year back in Beirut is full of the sights, smells and tastes of this cosmopolitan city on the Mediterranean Sea. Beirut was her childhood home, but her family left during the civil war, and though she'd grown to love her life in America she still sometimes feels like an outsider there. Much of the memoir is a meditation on what home is, and Abdelnour wonders if she can feel at home again in the city she's longed for since she was forced to leave it as a child.


Other than the occasional but regular civil or political unrest scares, her circumstances are close to ideal. She's able to live in the apartment she grew up in, she still has lots of family and friends around, and with her freelance writing work she's able to spend a lot of time exploring.


For the most part it's interesting to read about her eclectic social life and her mouthwatering dining experiences. The narrative rambles sometimes, but it's charming and fascinating enough to make me want to visit Beirut for myself, and I'll certainly be trying out the delicious looking recipes at the back of the book.