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Fireworks: Lebanon-Born Writer Makes Debut with Celebrated & Poignant Story of Women Thrown Into War - Hailed "Vivid and Rewarding" by Critics

Sarah Houssayni’s ‘Fireworks’ sees terror, war, courage and emotion collide as two women from vastly different roots find themselves thrust into the thick of 2006’s Hezbollah-Israel war. Through their emotive journey from despair to triumph, readers will cut to the very core of the human condition, while exploring the social and political turmoil that doesn’t have to define those caught within it.


Wichita, KS -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/22/2014 -- While many writers use their debut novel to simply test the literary waters, Sarah Houssayni is about to prove that a first release is also an opportunity to produce works that can rival any bestseller. Trading fantasy for a true fusion of fact and fiction, 'Fireworks' uses the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war as backdrop to answer many confusing questions about turmoil and the Middle East.

For example - can Shiiah women be Feminist? Are there gays in the Middle East and, if Beirut is on the pulse of the global finance and tourism industries, why is it such a complex place? These questions and more are answered through a narrative that transcends the typical novel to get to the heart of everything humanity stands for.


Fireworks tells the story of two women thrown into the Hezbollah Israel war of 2006. Angie is a thirty year old nurse from Kansas, in Beirut for the summer to get away from a broken heart. Zahra is a sixteen year old Shiite, on summer break and in love for the first time. Through terror, loss, grief, self-forgiveness and the workings of a local doctor, the two women move from despair to grace and to the long-awaited shore.

"The 2006 war killed 1300 Lebanese and displaced over a million people, as well destroying a large portion of the country's vital infrastructure. The problem is, most people don't really understand the war itself or how it changed the lives of those caught within it," explains the author, a Lebanese native now living in the United States. "This is their story, told from a very unique perspective that also answers many questions about the region and its society as a whole."

Continuing, "I try to unravel the enigma of Beirut and help people understand how it straddles being a cutting-edge city and also an arena for fatal unrest. Told through the eyes of two women, the story also explores their place in Middle-Eastern society; especially Angie, who struggles to adapt to a culture where many of her western views could land her in severe trouble."

Advance reviews have been extremely impressive. Christine Hemp, award winning poet and NPR host comments, "Fireworks illuminates the complexity of religious codes and cultural boundaries. From Kansas City to Beirut, Houssayni's characters navigate family tension, political unrest, and unexamined grief. This is a writer full of curiosity and courage."

Juliet Patterson adds, "Sarah Houssayni's Fireworks delivers a vivid and rewarding tale. From Kansas City to New York City, to Beirut and Lebanon, Houssayni's debut encompasses and transcends the known world through characters that are fully fleshed and deftly wrought. This story gets to the heart of everything we are: socially, politically, psychologically and emotionally. Brilliantly plotted. I couldn't put it down."

Charles Holdefer praised the novel's relevance to the real world. He writes, "This story could not be more timely. The breadth of Houssayni's empathetic imagination in Fireworks is impressive; the writing is sensitive to difference in the best sense."

'Fireworks', from Anaphora Literary Press, is due for release in mid-February of 2015.

For more information, visit the publisher's website: http://bit.ly/1xrlLMb

About Sarah Houssayni
Sarah Houssayni was born in Beirut, Lebanon, she moved to upstate NY at the age of 25 to complete her training in Pediatrics. She lives in Wichita, Kansas where she raises two boys and is a clinical assistant professor at Kansas University. She has published Narratives in Family Medicine, Survive and Thrive, The Examined Life and Pulse Voices. She is a Writer's Digest Award Winner for Personal Essay, this is her first book.