The Night Counter
By: Alia Yunis
Description: After 85 years, Fatima knows that she is dying because for the last 991 days she has been visited by the immortal storyteller from The Arabian Nights, Scheherazade. Just as Scheherazade spun magical stories for 1,001 nights to save her own life, Fatima has spent each night telling Scheherazade her life stories. But with only nine days left before her death, Fatima has a few loose ends to tie up. She must find a wife for her openly gay grandson, teach Arabic (and birth control) to her 17-year-old great-granddaughter, make amends with her estranged husband, and decide which of her troublesome children should inherit her family's home in Lebanon--a house she herself has not seen in nearly 70 years. Fatima's children are spread far apart and are wrapped up in their own chaotic lives seemingly disinterested in their mother and their inheritances. But as she weaves stories of her husband, children, and grandchildren, Fatima brings together a family that is both capricious and steadfast, affectionate and also smothering, connected yet terribly alone. Taken all together, they present a striking and surprising tapestry of modern Arab American life. Shifting between America and Lebanon over the last hundred years, Alia Yunis crafts a bewitching debut novel imbued with great humanity, imagination, family drama and a touch of magic realism. Be prepared to feel utterly charmed.