Thirty Names of Night is a heartfelt tale of two women. One is a modern NYC first-generation Syrian-American painter of birds, who feels her assigned gender is incorrect. The other, Laila, is telling the story of her life through her journal. Her story begins a century earlier in Syria. It ends in Little Syria in Manhattan.
How the two women are connected is the main puzzle in the book. However, the sumptuous prose and omnipresent bird imagery is what puts this book ahead of the usual immigrant finding him/herself tale. It is much more than that. It is really a mix of literary fiction, magical realism, LGBTQ+, and historical fiction with a fairytale.
I think the mix of genres is what is causing the wide swing in reviews. If you enjoy unconventional stories, you will be enchanted by Thirty Names of Night. It is filled with both genuine, and genuinely uncomfortable, scenes. 4 stars!
Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.