At 7 p.m. on April 11, Pierre Jarawan presented passages from his latest fictional novel, “The Storyteller,” at Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro.
To a room made up of mostly students, Brian Lampkin, owner of Scuppernong, excitedly welcomed Jarawan as an author stating that he is “huge in Germany and the Netherlands. He’s about to become huge in America, and we get him here at the cusp of this explosion.”
Soon to follow, Pierre began his presentation at Scuppernong, and it became quite clear that his personal relationship to Lebanon and Lebanon’s history itself were major influences in the creation of his novel, “The Storyteller.”
In fact, Pierre Jarawan, born in 1985 to a Lebanese father and a German mother, moved to Germany from Lebanon at the young age of three, giving perfect reason as to why his main character lived in similar conditions.
He later stated that he did not want to simply read from his book but to “give insight into a country that you probably don’t know much about, and a country that is very important in terms of the middle east.”
With every intention to read from his book, Jarawan felt it was just as important to supply the historical context surrounding it as well. Understanding that “The Storyteller” revolves around a Lebanese child who recognizes himself as an “other” in the midst of Germany, Jarawan chose to confront the realities of this feeling in the current world among Lebanese people and Syrian refugees.
Attempting to not reveal too much of the plot of “The Storyteller,” Jarawan told the audience at Scuppernong that it is “about Samir; he is an eight year old boy with a lot of scars and his parents had to flee the Lebanon civil war in the ‘80s so… he has been born in Germany, he has grown up there in a very safe environment, but when he is eight years old, his father disappears mysteriously and after twenty years, he finally goes to Lebanon trying to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance, and there he encounters a country that he has not known. So he goes for the first time and recognizes that it is very different than he imagined….”
It was at this point that Pierre Jarawan took his fictional novel into a world of reality as he related Samir’s story to many second generation sons and daughters of immigrants noting that many experience a feeling of “belonging neither here, nor there.”
Throughout his readings, Jarawan consistently tied his book back to reality, referring to the cultural significance “The Storyteller” represents, by providing facts such as, “Lebanon has 4 million inhabitants and they have taken in 2 million Syrian refugees.”
Considering that at one point in time Syrians were viewed as enemies of Lebanon, the theme of belonging found in his novel is vividly apparent throughout history and modern times.
If you are interested in learning more about Pierre Jarawan and his novel titled “The Storyteller,” then you can find his book at varying places such as Barnes and Noble or even Amazon.com.
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