One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Storyteller by Pierre Jarawan

THE STORYTELLER


Samir leaves the safety and comfort of his family’s adopted home in Germany for volatile Beirut in an attempt to find his missing father. His only clues are an old photo and the bedtime stories his father used to tell him. The Storyteller follows Samir’s search for Brahim, the father whose heart was always yearning for his homeland, Lebanon.

In this moving and gripping novel about family secrets, love, and friendship, Pierre Jarawan does for Lebanon what Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan. He pulls away the curtain of grim facts and figures to reveal the intimate story of an exiled family torn apart by civil war and guilt.

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Samir leaves the safety and comfort of his family’s adopted home in Germany for volatile Beirut in an attempt to find his missing father. His only clues are an old photo and the bedtime stories his father used to tell him. The Storyteller follows Samir’s search for Brahim, the father whose heart was always yearning for his homeland, Lebanon.

In this moving and gripping novel about family secrets, love, and friendship, Pierre Jarawan does for Lebanon what Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan. He pulls away the curtain of grim facts and figures to reveal the intimate story of an exiled family torn apart by civil war and guilt. In this rich and skilful account, Jarawan proves that he too is a masterful storyteller.

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  • World Editions
  • Paperback
  • April 2019
  • 468 Pages
  • 9781642860115

Buy the Book

$17.99

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About Pierre Jarawan

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’ favorite in Germany and the Netherlands.

Praise

“A pacy Lebanese mystery… A man is haunted by his father’s disappearance in this acclaimed debut novel set against the backdrop of Middle Eastern politics.” —The Guardian 

“As in the iconic 1001 Nights, storytelling is not just a form of entertainment, but a solution to a problem, a form of appeasement that holds at bay powerful and dangerous forces.” Asymptote

Discussion Questions

1. The Storyteller is set in both Germany and Lebanon: how do these two countries compare (and contrast) within the novel?

2. Compare the reactions of Samir and his mother to losing their father/ husband. Do they express their grief in similar ways? Does their way of grieving seem healthy? Is it something you have any control over?

3. Samir goes to Lebanon to look for his father. Do you think this was a good idea? Why? Why not?

4. Other than his father, what did he hope to find there?

5. Do you think Samir’s father was right to return to Lebanon? Why/why not?

6. Who are the people that helped Samir in his journey? In what ways did they help?

7. What defines the terms “family” and “home”?

8. The history of Lebanon is a central part of the book: What do you know about the current affairs of this region? And, from the events referred to in the book itself, what do you think the main problems are in Lebanon, and can you see any solutions? How does this compare to your country?

9. How do you think Samir feels upon his return to Germany? What do you think the future holds for him?

10. What can you say about Samir’s mother’s relationship to the other members of her family? Do you think she enjoyed living in Germany? Do you think she also longed to return to Lebanon? Why?

11. In what ways were Yasmin’s and Samir’s experiences in Germany the same? In what ways do they differ?

12. Following the death of their mother, Samir’s sister was taken to a foster family while Samir was left with a friend of the family, Hakim. Was this the best thing for Samir? What else could have been done in this situation?

13. This book also testifies to the power of storytelling, and to an oral storytelling tradition. What does Jarawan have to say about the importance of stories? What are stories able to do for us?