The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria by Alia Malek


The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of SyriaThis book really makes me want to go to her country and see all the sights, especially the historical ones. I’m so accustomed to thinking of that region as a wasteland, I forget that it isn’t really like. It’s unfortunate, but she does also mention how much has been destroyed in recent years. I loved the way the history of Malek’s family personalized and helped to tell the story of the country. It amazes me when people have that much in depth knowledge about their family let alone politics and government. She does a great job of both painting with the broad strokes of revolutions and coups and then bringing it back down to the way they effect a single neighbor.

That I was reading this when I listened to The Queue makes much of the second half that much more understandable. It also brings in this whole other level of skin crawling that I wasn’t entirely prepared for. Sometimes our lives change in a moment, and sometimes dealing with just that little bit more of a hardship over time turns into regime’s like the one Malek fled. It makes me want to set up a few pairings of fiction and nonfiction down the road sometime.

One of my favorite things about the book was how much I learned about the country in general. I only know about it from reports on the news and mentions in the Old Testament as I reading through the later prophets a while back. That’s it. Neither paints the most flattering picture of it. From Malek I learned quite a bit about what it was like under the Ottoman Empire and what some more natural borders may have looked like and where they have imagined themselves going. I hope the best for the country and the people there, I certainly hope they find a model of government that actually helps the people prosper. I can’t imagine living in such a stifling environment.

Honestly, if you’ve ever been curious about the area or interested in World History, check out this book. I love the way Malek intertwines interests from different countries into the way things happen with her own. I hope each time I read a book like this that the days of looking at countries as not having intertwined histories is over. Maybe that’s a list for another day too.

While this is a WIT book for me this year, it is “transliterated” and not translated. At first, I thought to myself that I shouldn’t include it because of the difference between the two and then I thought that excluding it when it’s not perfect a translation was as bad as not including translations during other months. I borrowed the book for Scribd but purchase options can be found on Booklikes by clicking on the cover image.


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