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  • The Dusk Visitor
    The Dusk Visitor: Stories from Syria
    by Musa Al-Halool

    ISBN 978-1-951082-13-0 Paperback $16.00
    128 pages 4 original black and white drawings by Hassan Hamam
    Publication Date: January 4, 2022

    Short fiction from a Raqqa, Syria native whose home was commandeered by ISIS and later destroyed by coalition airstrikes.

    Musa Al-Halool developed these stories based on a sense of embitterment toward the Syrian regime. Now, after his country has fallen from the grips of an obtuse and rigidly bureaucratic state into the uncertainties of war . . . he presents his stories as the response of one still-same voice in the midst of madness.

    Musa Al-Halool’s stories depict a Kafkaesque Middle Eastern world. The collection opens with eight political fables in a chapter titled Ratistan . . . or the country of Rats. These fables introduce themes which are picked up and developed in the later stories or simply serve as counterpoint to the longer pieces.

    The Dusk Visitor is an object lesson for Western readers. In just a few words, it invokes the warnings of Ernest Hemingway about the dangers of Fascism in 1920s Italy and the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s . . . that resulted in WWII. The author shows in compelling detail that Middle East dictators and the upside down world of security state rule in the Middle East are the reward for functioning civil societies where a few too many ”good people” find it more convenient to collaborate rather than to resist.

    Western readers, in their arrogance, are accustomed to pity such dysfunctional societies. In The Dusk Visitor, the tables are turned. Musa Al-Halool forces us to look in the mirror: Middle Eastern style comical inanity and inefficiency as well as torture, mass murder, and other human rights horrors are just around the corner for the EU, UK, US, and other societies where it is OK to raise half-truths, lies, and exaggeration above traditional journalism, dilute the judiciary, gerrymander the election system, usher in strongmen who prefer to be rulers for life, and threaten legal action against one’s political opponents.

    The Dusk Visitor is a MUST-READ for anyone concerned about the growth of subtle and overt fascism within modern civil society.
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  • Arab Boy Delivered: A Palestinian-American Comes of Age
    by Paul Aziz Zarou (First Novel)

    ISBN 978-1-951082-29-1 Hardback $22.00
    Publication Date: January 18, 2022

    As Michael maneuvers through his working-class neighborhood delivering groceries, he enters the homes and lives of his customers. He’s confronted by the school yard and street corner violence of local thugs. With the 1967 Arab-Israeli War fresh in public memory, he passes for Greek or Italian and never summons the courage to explain, exactly, who he is or where his parents came from.

    Michael weighs his obligations to his tight knit family and sees before him a life of constricted ambitions. Then he falls for a radical college coed, returned to the neighborhood after two years of college. She teaches Michael about sex, love, the obligation to protest injustice. His life is buffeted by the killing of Martin Luther King, Jr and the death, two months later, of Bobby Kennedy. His girlfriend opens his eyes to the ongoing national struggle to test national ideals against the growing diversity of America.

    Michael grieves with a mother whose only son died in the Vietnam War and is embraced by the first black couple who move into the neighborhood. The people he meets shape him. His mind is a potpourri of his experiences: hatred, kindness, his own sexual awakening. Michael struggles to figure out who this dutiful son of an immigrant family is becoming in a rapidly emerging modern world, epitomized by the big, brash, obnoxious city on the other side of the East River.
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  • White Carnations

    White Carnations: 101 Tales from War-torn Syria
    by Musa Rahum Abbas (Short Fiction)

    ISBN 978-1-951082-02-4 Paperback $16.00
    128 pages Calligraphy by Mamoun Sakkal
    Publication Date: Tuesday February 8, 2022
    (Translated from the original Arabic by Sanna Dhahir and Musa Al-Halool)

    In White Carnations, the Syrian fiction writer Musa Rahum Abbas, admired in the Arab world but nearly unknown in the West, makes his English language debut with 101 tales that sketch life inside and outside Syria during the revolution that began in 2011.

    The prose in White Carnations is etched, distilled, essential. It recalls curious fables from distant foreign lands. Delicious vignettes and anecdotes are followed with the most absurd and horrific headlines of the Syrian revolution. Other tales document the furious efforts of non-poor Syrians who have escaped for a few weeks or forever. They are are burrowing into superficially normal lives in the modern world. Yet their lives are not normal, because they are utterly unable to release the memories of pain and cruelty that they carry with them, like an emotional passport.

    Cune Press is presenting White Carnations as a companion to The Dusk Visitor. The scholar, translator, and creative writer Musa Al-Halool is the co-translator of White Carnations along with the delightful academic Sanna Dhahir. Note that Musa Al-Halool is the author of The Dusk Visitor (see above).

    Both books are “light reading” on a serious subject. They explore through the tool of short fiction the fascist style that can slowly and decisively overtake democratic governments. (Yes, Syrian democracy emerged when the French left in 1946. After several years of free elections, an era of coup and counter-coup mixed with democratic maneuvering held sway as the Ba’ath Party gained strength. In 1963, the Ba’ath ousted Nazim Qudsi, considered the last democratically elected president of Syria).

    Whereas The Dusk Visitor’s commentary applies to several security state governments in North Africa and the Middle East, White Carnations focuses on the eruption of violence and displacement within a single country, Syria, and follows its expats as they struggle in exile.

    Both books hold lessons for readers who value an open civil society, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and democratic elections as a way to transfer power.mocratic institutions.

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  • Nietzsche Awakens! Matching Wits with Friedrich
    by Farid Younes

    ISBN 978-1-951082-01-7 Paperback $16.00
    128 pages, 3 black and white photos
    Publication Date: Tuesday February 22, 2022

    A Triathlon for the Mind. Aphorisms. Intellectual Play.
    Have you ever wanted to rewrite all of Nietzsche’s aphorisms? You are not alone. A mental workout for those who want to stay fit: Mind games, both entertaining and profound from a Lebanese philosopher, architect, urban designer, and college professor who breaks every rule in the book . . . in a friendly way.

    “Rather than being influenced by Nietzsche, the author is bringing Nietzsche alive.”
    —Farid Younes

    Comment on Nietzsche Awakens!
    “Spoiled, cocky, pompous . . . and irrepressibly witty, Farid Younes organizes his script for dramatic effect.”
    —Dr Mohammad El Hajj, Architecture, Lebanese University

    “You are a dangerous man, Farid.”
    —Michel Aoun, President of Lebanon

    “The author has an intense approach to challenging Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the greatest minds that ever lived . . . brilliance, amusement, and satisfaction for the soul.”
    —Dr Robert Haddad, University of Notre Dame, Lebanon.
    Author of Elias Michel Haddad, Un piinnier de la caricature au Liban entre 1942-1962
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