It’s not a new question, but it is an especially timely one: How do children of immigrant parents absorb and, in turn, imagine an idea of their ancestral country? Pierre Jarawan’s novel, The Storyteller, follows Samir, a German-born son of Lebanese immigrants. Samir’s father disappears without a trace when he’s just a boy, which shatters the family. Years later, Samir goes searching for his father in Lebanon, and he must reconcile the imagined paradise his father portrayed with the real country he’s never known.
In this week’s episode, Jarawan speaks to web editor Violet Lucca about how his experience as a slam poet helped him write a more compelling book, how art like his fits into the political moment, and what it takes to tap into the details of childhood that help a story quicken and begin to breathe.