Song for the Missing


A sensitive and mysterious novel on friendship, family and destruction

It’s 2011 and the Arab Spring is in full bloom when the discovery of two bodies in Beirut sows the first seeds of unrest in Lebanon. With houses already burning, Amin sets out to write down his memories of the country: Of the year 1994, when he returned as a teenager with his grandmothertwelve years after his parents’ deaths. Of his friendship with Jafar, the boy who explored the desolate postwar landscape with him. And of the painful discovery that there will never be certainty—neither about his friend’s past nor his family’s history. In this novel full of mystery and suspense, friendship and loss, searches and secrets, Jarawan skillfully interweaves a deeply personal story with the tumultuous history of the Middle East.

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Publication date

April 5, 2022





Pierre Jarawan

Pierre Jarawan was born in 1985 in Amman, Jordan, to a Lebanese father and a German mother and moved to Germany with his family at the age of three… Read more

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Praise for Song for the Missing

“A love letter to Lebanon and its people—a deft, sensitive book that steers clear of ‘oriental’ clichés, with a poetic narrative voice.”
DANIEL SPECK, screenwriter

“It’s a family story, and it’s also a story of identity. It is a story of the entanglements of the Middle East and the Europeans and it is also—I think—a coming-of-age story.”
Bayern 2’s Diwan: Das Büchermagazin

“A story that gets under your skin and shows that our lives are always the sum of everything that happened to the previous generations.”
Münchner Merkur

“A highly poetic book in an equally poetic language.”
Deutschlandfunk Kultur’s Lesart podcast

“Pierre Jarawan once again proves to be a magician of language. He writes in a clear, poetic language that is deeply moving and impresses with enchanting and atmospheric images of Lebanon’s cities. In a virtuoso way, Jarawan links the events of the Middle East, the civil war, and the Arab Spring with the life of the narrator—a story of Lebanon you won’t forget.”
Freie Presse

“Despite the lightness of the novel—which can also be read as a coming-of-age, love, friendship, and family story—it is a critical examination of Lebanon. Jarawan’s narration retains the lightness he displayed in his debut, which has been translated into many languages.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Pierre Jarawan speaks confidently and warmly of the wounds of the war, repressed trauma, and the attitude towards life of a generation with limited hope. A wonderfully poetic—but also political—novel about Lebanon. Absolutely recommended.“
Abendzeitung München

“A new Jarawan as we love him: sensitive, exciting, and tightly linked to the eventful history of the Middle East.”
Rheinischer Spiegel Online

“Pierre Jarawan lets Lebanon come alive over decades in a sensual and factual manner, but also the friends Amin and Jafar, their thoughts and feelings, their strength, their abysses.”
Welt am Sonntag

“Jarawan manages to maintain the high level of his first book. With his typical passion for telling stories, the fun of wonderfully poetic linguistic images that manage to bring smells and tastes to life, and a gripping and touching story, he again manages to bring Lebanon closer to us historically, politically, and emotionally.”
Galore Literatur

“Jarawan, who adorns without overloading, succeeds in creating an impressive picture of Beirut, the former ‘Paris of the Middle East,’ before, during, and after the 15-year civil war. And the novel has become sadly topical due to current events, the explosion on August 4, 2020, in the city’s port.”
Göttinger Tagblatt

“This moving novel is dedicated to 17,000 people who disappeared without a trace during 15 years of civil war. But Jarawan also portrays the beauty and poetry of the country and recalls the great tradition of the hakawati, the Arab storytellers.”

“A gripping story that touches the central trauma of today’s Lebanon.”
Der Standard

“Such a touching and gripping book!”
SRF2 Kultur’s Kontext podcast

“An atmospheric novel.”

“With the way Jarawan tells his story, he has created a little masterpiece.”
Ö1’s Ex libris

“The characters act with great sensitivity in a fast-paced, moving, and wonderfully narrated novel.”
Ludwigsburger Wochenblatt

“Jarawan’s second novel imparts a great deal of geopolitical and contemporary historical knowledge, stimulates reflection on exile and art—and translates these complex topics into interwoven, twisting stories around a convincing ensemble of characters in a vivid and confident manner. A book that is worth reading repeatedly.”
LiteraturSeiten München

Song for the Missing is a haunting read that tries to understand Lebanon and its people, that links the political with the everyday and creates wonderful scenes and characters through vivid language that draws in the reader. Read it!”
Anjas Bücher Online

“Pierre Jarawan’s novel Song for the Missing works on many different levels.”
Der Teckbote

“In his novel, Pierre Jarawan artfully combines the most varied narrative strands into a larger whole.”

“Humorous and sophisticated reading.”
Acher- und Bühler Bote

Song for the Missing is perhaps best compared to a colorful mosaic. Stone by stone the result is an unforgettable picture, a story with characters that stay in the heart.”

“In Song for the Missing, Pierre Jarawan describes a moving fate.”
Ostthüringer Zeitung

“The reader strolls and wanders through strange worlds of fragrant, intense street scenes full of sweet melancholy, biting fear, and teasing irony, where the imagination and grit of the shrewd Beirut youth are as at home as the memories of the countless people who turned into ‘the missing,’ when they disappeared forever.”

“The new novel by Pierre Jarawan: sensitive, exciting, and virtuoso, and linked to the dramatic history of the Middle East.”