heirlooms

on my shelf: salt houses by hala alyan

photo from sparknotes.com

photo from sparknotes.com

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Written by Palestinian-American Hala Alyan, Salt Houses is a book about the Palestinian exodus in the years after the illegal formation of the state of Israel. The book focuses on the stories of the women in a Palestinian refugee family, and exposes the "intergenerational trauma" that is the result of mass displacement. Alyan writes based on experience, and in an interview with NPR interestingly shares: 

"When I wanted to get married, one of the things that I didn't really have the luxury of was asking my mother if I could wear her wedding dress, or asking my grandmother if I could wear her wedding dress. My grandmother lost hers when she moved to Kuwait. My mother lost hers in Kuwait after the invasion. They're lost in the rubble of time and movement and displacement. We don't have heirlooms." 

Personally, I can't relate more to this. As a Palestinian, I can't think of a more fitting way to explain the trauma of being 3rd generation displaced - that there are no heirlooms, no photographs to go back to, no love letters, no documentation of our personal histories. For more on Hala Alyan and Salt Houses click here