Farid Younes makes his home in Byblos, a coastal town in northern Lebanon. He lived through both the Lebanese and now the Syrian civil wars. Like all Lebanese, he has plenty of “serious” in his life. The need for him and other Lebanese is to find the distance needed to cope and if possible to move events and circumstances in a better direction. His answer was to create a book that is a literary imitation of a coffee house with an open mic like the famous “Haven—The Cabin” that rests on a Byblos hilltop looking out over the Mediterranean.
The author’s neighbors meditate over their chess boards or gather in a back corner spinning epic tales of conspiracy as a way of passing time before the next spoken word performance . . . and as a way of making sense of the carnage of war and strife beyond Lebanese borders and the women and children-Syrian refugees-who line the streets in the major cities.
Nietzsche Awakens! is a game, yet it ultimately reaches past clever word play and the razor-sharp slicing of meaning to depths that Nietzsche experienced in his own life, depths akin to those that Farid Younes has seen face-to-face among his fellow citizens.
At a certain point, the parlor game of this book becomes a controlled yet also a thrashing, desperate effort to survive-for one’s mind to survive against the ravages of age, and also for the culture as a whole to survive the inanity of rigid thinking, blatant self-dealing, and the other idiocies that prevent us from addressing the primary challenges of our time.