At the very start of Hala Alyan's novel Salt Houses, a woman buys a coffee set — a dozen cups, a coffee pot, a tray. It's a simple act that unexpectedly becomes painful. The woman is Palestinian — part of a family displaced after the founding of Israel — and the tray reminds her of an old one she lost in one of the family's many moves.
Alyan builds her story on little moments like that — a peek into the lives of several generations, forced to relocate and resettle. Her characters are lost and looking for a home.