The Night Counter


“What love stories would you tell if you only had 10 days left to tell them?”

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“In this captivating debut, Yunis takes readers on a magic carpet ride examining the lives of Fatima Abdullah and her huge dysfunctional family” PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

The Night Counter Selected as a “Hot Summer Read” by the Chicago Tribune

The Night Counter Selected as the “Best in Summer Reading” by the Boston Phoenix

The Night Counter’s Starred Review in Kirkus Reviews

“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.” – The Washington Post

“Yunis, a Chicago-born professor living in Abu Dhabi, weaves a colorful tapestry…rich in character and spirit.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Wonderfully imaginative and perfectly crafted…. Familial relationships are perfectly captured and each character is real and relatable, making The Night Counter an engrossing read.”– The Sacamento Book Review

The Night Counter,” Alia Yunis’ first novel, mixes equal parts of magical realism, social commentary, family drama and lighthearted humor to create a delicious and intriguing indulgence worth savoring.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Little pigs and lost siblings make for decent bedtime story fodder. But the life and times of Fatima Abdullah, the madcap matriarch of Alia Yunis’s charming debut, The Night Counter, is even better.” – Daily Candy

“The Abdullahs are anything but a Norman Rockwell painting, but in their own way, they are a very typical American family. They may have their differences but they also have their stories. And, as Scheherazade points out, in the end, that’s what holds a family (much like a nation) together.” – Christian Science Monitor

“Bittersweet and lovely, its stories are immersing and its spell enchanting. Readers of both light and literary fiction will delight in this lovely book.”– The Boston Bibilophile

“The book is funny, sweet and sad. A few scenes are laugh-out-loud hilarious. This novel should resonate with readers of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Highly recommended!” – Roanoke Times

“Alia Yunis’s debut novel The Night Counter is arguably the first Arab-American “summer read”… With an endearing cast of characters, plot gifts that keep on giving, and touching portrayals of family relationships—The Night Counter offers an easygoing, coast-to-coast carpet ride though modern Arab-America…The Night Counter too can be thought of as a lifesaver— it is a celebration of female strength and resilience…” – Kim Jensen, Rain Taxi

“Alia Yunis’ first novel is a portrait of a big, noisy, scattered, extended family, rich in complications and complexities.” –Charleston Post Courier

“When we see death coming, we do funny things. Case in point: 85-year- old Fatima Abdullah, the central character of Alia Yunis’ inventive debut novel The Night Counter.”
– City Paper Philadelphia

“Yunis masterfully adds not only classical literature references, most prominently “The Arabian Nights,” but she also delivers a searing yet humorous commentary about the difficulties confronting Arab-Americans living in the post-9/11 United States. She presents the reader with a catalog of clichés — such as faux-Middle Eastern belly dancers in Vegas and a hippie fortuneteller with a fake crystal ball — and challenges her readers to rethink these stereotypes as the characters’ personal crises mirror larger geo-political events.”
– Minnesota Public Radio (State of the Arts)

“Through Fatima’s stories the author tells the quirky story of four generations of Fatima’s family who are as desperate as Fatima herself to find where they belong in life. This is a definate keeper, folks. Bring your tissue and don’t plan on forgetting this story anytime soon.” – Santa Clarita Signal

“Yunis’ debut is a magical, whimsical read with plenty of humor and heart.” – Booklist

“This first novel by a journalist and filmmaker with Middle Eastern roots is a warm, feel-good story of complicated family ties, long-buried secrets, and last-minute surprises. It gives insight into the lives of Lebanese immigrants in America and would be a good selection for book clubs.” –  Library Journal

“…mixing typically American wit with that characteristically flowery Arab prose… A wonderful read that combines a splash of magic realism with culture, history, and comedy.”
– Time Out Beirut

“Yunis’ page-turner is readable, fast-paced, humorous and humane…While Scheherazade’s stories, mythical, moral and vibrant as they are might rightfully be described as “charming,” Fatima’s stories are amusingly modern. They poke fun at both American and Arab contemporary culture, while hilariously highlighting the differences”
– The Daily Star (Lebanon)

“The Night Counter is not a moral lesson about the corruptive dangers of life in the United States: it’s a beautiful, sad and often extremely funny tale about an extended Arab family negotiating both post-9/11American and (perhaps even worse) the chaos and drama of four generation of family affairs.”
– Jo Magazine (Jordan)

“At times, the witty dialogue will leave you laughing out loud; at others, you will be gripped by the hardships immigrants face in a land that is in all ways foreign to their home.”
– The Daily News (Egypt)

“The Night Counter is a gripping and often hilarious account of a family in the US whose ethnicity is just part of the package. All the elements of complexity, hope and regret that come with just about any family are mixed in with the issues attached to having an Arab or Muslim identity in post-9/11 America. A celebration of life, the book kept me up all night, and made me want to call my parents.”
– Al Masry Al Youm (Egypt)

“The elevator pitch for this portrait of a family could be “the Lebanese-American version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Bend It Like Beckham”. Not to imply that it’s generic but it shares with the others an affectionate, clever, funny, charming, sad, occasionally cringe-making and utterly engrossing view of culture clashes and generation gaps.”
– The National (UAE)

“The Night Counter is like steak served with a generous dollop of hummous. And together, they taste delicious. Go ahead and carve in.”
– Khaleej Times (UAE)


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Polish VersionNIGHT COUNTER Hardcover

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