Book Reading/Signing: The Night Counter: A Novel by Alia Yunis

Thu, September 9, 2010 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all book reading/signings »)

Free and Open to the Public

Chicago Tribune pick as Best of Summer (2009)
Boston Phoenix pick as Best of Summer (2009)

The Night Counter: A Novel by Alia Yunis (Three Rivers Press/Crown, 2010)

After eighty-five long years, Fatimah Abdullah is dying, and she knows when her time will come. In fact, it should come just nine days from tonight, the 992nd nightly visit of Scheherazade, the beautiful and immortal storyteller from the epic The Arabian Nights.

Just as Scheherazade spun magical stories for 1,001 nights to save her own life, Fatimah has spent each night telling Scheherazade her life stories, all the while knowing that on the 1,001st night, her storytelling will end forever. But between tonight and night 1,001, 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 -- all while under the surveillance of two bumbling FBI agents eager to uncover Al Qaeda in Los Angeles


* * * * *

"Wonderfully imaginative...poignant, hilarious...The branches of this family tree support four generations of achievement, assimilation, disappointment, and dysfunction...Their stories form an affectionate, amusing, intensely human portrait of one family.” – The Boston Globe

“The Night Counter is also lighthearted, full of silly plays on words and comedic errors. In this easy-seeming way, the author aims, without being in any way preachy about it, to give us a short history of the Middle East and the Muslim faith in America—to say: Don’t be so quick to misunderstand us; we are, in so many of the ways detailed here, the same as you. She succeeds, very gracefully.” — Washington Post

"In this captivating debut, Yunis takes readers on a magic carpet ride…a sometimes serious, sometimes funny, but always touching tale of a Middle Eastern family putting down deep roots in U.S. soil.” — Publishers Weekly

About The Writer

Alia Yunis was born in Chicago and grew up in the U.S., Greece, and the Middle East, particularly Beirut during its civil war. She has worked as a filmmaker and journalist in several cities, especially Los Angeles. Her fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including The Robert Olen Butler Best Short Stories collection, and her non-fiction work includes articles for The Los Angeles Times, Saveur, SportsTravel Magazine, and Aramco World. She currently teaches film and television at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. Yunis is a PEN Emerging Voices fellow.

Last updated: 2010-08-25 00:54:27

Alia Yunis
Alia Yunis
The Night Counter
The Night Counter

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia