“The Storyteller” by Pierre Jarawan

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“The Storyteller” is a beautiful story of depression and research that will lead you to better discover post-Civil War Lebanon

The Storyteller

1980s, Lebanon. The country is devastated by civil war and Samir’s parents decide to flee and seek asylum in Germany. The young protagonist thus grows up in Europe and builds a solid relationship with his father, from whom he learns extraordinary tales and stories about his homeland abandoned against their will. One night, Samir’s peaceful life changes forever: his father disappears, no one knows where he is. The family is shattered. Twenty years later, haunted by the obsession with that loss, the young man decides to return to the land of the cedars in search of his father. The only clues he has are an old photo and the memory of bedtime stories. In Beirut he learns long-buried secrets and is overwhelmed by the political history of his homeland and the complex issues surrounding national identity. Samir thus realizes that perhaps his father’s tales have always hidden another truth …

The key to depression is research

I never expected it, but it is really difficult for me to talk about this book because, despite living a life quite different from that of the protagonist, there are various themes and dynamics in which, also thanks to Jarawan’s skill, I felt more than ever involved. The text is divided into two parts: the first is that relating to what happened in Germany before the trip, while the second throws us into Lebanon and into the present, with Samir who finally sets out in search of his father, the only key to get out of the heavy and infernal depression that grips him. In fact, since the parent leaves the family, the life of the protagonist and his loved ones will be completely transformed, slowly bringing them into a well that seems to have no exit; things will happen to his mother, things will happen to his sister, but more than anyone else it will be Samir who will change, almost extinguishing the flame of life that he had so distinguished during his childhood.

The Storyteller

His life loses its meaning, everything revolves around an infinite “why” with no answer, leading him to an abyss that alienates him from the world and does not allow him to admire the joys that happen around him. Unlike the fairy tales told by her father, this time she will be a lady to save the knight who, thanks to her love for her and her stubbornness, will finally understand that “the key to depression is research”. Under the insistence of his beloved, he will finally leave for Lebanon, fulfilling the destiny that has awaited him in the land of cedars since time immemorial.

Post Civil War

The second part is certainly the most interesting for lovers of this beautiful country as, in addition to making us experience continuous discoveries and twists, it puts us in contact with two elements that are not marginal at all but which are sometimes even overlooked: the “common life. “during the Civil War and, above all, what happened after the end of it. Up to now, in fact, I had never read anything about the “Hariri period”, a historical moment extremely close to us and central to the fate of Lebanon, yet decidedly less popular than the aforementioned conflict. In the text, moreover, Jarawan does not miss the opportunity to make fine and sharp considerations about politics in the Land of the Cedars, bringing to light thoughts that are probably in the minds of many Lebanese but which are easier to express if one has grown up in the country. abroad.

The Storyteller
Pierre Jarawan

“The Storyteller” is a really beautiful book that will transport you between Europe and the Middle East, allowing you a total immersion in Samir’s eyes and psyche, letting you personally experience the story of those who, from hell, managed to build their own paradise. . But be careful: the text, at least in my case, was really fitting and for this reason you must keep in mind that that darkness will not be a mere dark canvas, but something that will come to life in you by asking you many questions that, either by choice or by ignorance , you have never posed, but making yourself feel really tangible emotions and sensations. Of course, as I said before, Samir will be able to build his own paradise and the same will happen to you too; as in “The Conference of the Birds” by Farid ad-Din Attar, once you have passed the valleys of suffering, you will find a mirror waiting for you and it will be at that point that you will understand that the story of Samir is also yours and it will be then that you will leave the past to rely on the present. I thank you infinitely SEM publishing house for giving me this wonderful opportunity, in all honesty, I never expected something so beautiful, precious and profound; it is a title that I recommend from the bottom of my heart both to those who love Lebanon and to those who have experienced the pain of depression.

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