Translated from the original German by Elisabeth Lauffer
Its 2011 and the Arab Spring is in full bloom when the discovery of two bodies in Beirut sows the first seeds of unrest in Lebanon. With houses already burning, Amin sets out to write down his memories of the country: Of the year 1994, when he returned as a teenager with his grandmother, twelve years after his parents deaths. Of his friendship with Jafar, the boy who explored the desolate postwar landscape with him. And of the painful discovery that there will never be certaintyneither about his friends past nor his familys history. In this novel full of mystery and suspense, friendship and loss, searches and secrets, Jarawan skillfully interweaves a deeply personal story with the tumultuous history of the Middle East.
About the Author/Translator:
Pierre Jarawan was born in 1985 to a Lebanese father and a German mother and moved to Germany with his family at the age of three. Inspired by his father’s imaginative bedtime stories, he started writing at the age of thirteen. He has won international prizes as a slam poet, and in 2016 was named Literature Star of the Year by the daily newspaper Abendzeitung. Jarawan received a literary scholarship from the City of Munich (the Bayerischer Kunstförderpreis) for The Storyteller, which went on to become a bestseller and booksellers’ favourite in Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Brazil.
Elisabeth Lauffer is a German-English literary translator based in the US. In 2014, she won the Gutekunst Prize for Emerging Translators, which marked the beginning of her career in literary translation. In addition to her book publications, Liz’s translations have appeared in No Man’s Land and Asymptote. She has participated in the Frankfurt International Translators program (2019), the Artists-in-Residence program through KulturKontakt Austria (2019), and the Art Omi: Writers Translation Lab (2018).
Nominating Library’s Comments:
2011. During the troubled times of the Arabic Spring, Amin recalls the year 1994, when he, as an orphan, came with his Grandma from Germany to Lebanon. He remembers the taboo of speaking about the 17.000 missing people in Lebanon and the silent grief of their relatives. Little by little, Amin discovers that his parents belong to the missing persons. With his friend Jafar, Amin roams Beirut and its traumatized population, until he meet a story teller, who sparks Amin’s interest in books.
Rooted in the oral storytelling traditions of the Orient and passionate, Pierre Jarawan narrates stories of the people of Lebanon to make the reader feel what is lost. A touching, political novel and a varied family story. – Leipziger Städtische Bibliotheken, Germany