Arab Boy Delivered
144 pages

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144 pages

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Michael Haddad, the teenage son of Palestinian immigrants, comes of age during the tumultuous sixties in his family’s neighborhood grocery store in New York City.

In 1967 Michael maneuvers through the working-class neighborhood delivering groceries and enters the homes and lives of his customers. He’s confronted by the violence of racist bullies and falls for the radical college coed who teaches him about sex, love, and protest. Michael grieves with the mother whose only son died in the Vietnam War and is embraced by the first black couple who move into the neighborhood. They all shape him, and through the conflict of hate, acts of kindness, and his sexual awakening, Michael struggles to figure out who this dutiful son of an immigrant family is.

Michael’s 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 struggle to test national ideals against the growing diversity of America. But when Michael experiences a sudden personal tragedy, he must learn to get past his fears, come to terms with his heritage, and set himself free.



Publié par
Date de parution 21 février 2023
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781614574149
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Paul Zarou illuminates a rough and tumble neighborhood in Queens in the late 1960s with precision, clarity, and compassion . . . echoes of Philip Roth.
Steven Schlesser, author of The Soldier, the Builder & the Diplomat
Zarou’s characters are familiar faces from the old neighborhood: first crushes, overprotective fathers, the bully-gang, mother hens overseeing the block. At the center of a rich tapestry of multi-generational America is Michael Haddad, the son of Palestinian immigrants. His coming-of-age story, set against the turbulent 1960s, widens to encompass the ordinary lives of people we’ve all known, those who’ve loved and taught us, those who’ve gathered us in their folds, and those who’ve made us suffer. Ultimately, Zarou reminds us of the boundless power of family and friends as we discover who we are.
Sahar Mustafah, author of The Beauty of Your Face
Arab Boy Delivered is an involving, well-told, multi-layered tale of Palestinian immigrants deepening their way into American life. They move from safe, Palestinian Brooklyn to a Queens neighborhood with more opportunity. We see Michael Haddad mature from a fifteen-year-old working in the family grocery store to manhood as an NYU freshman toughened against neighborhood prejudice, sweetened by a passionate, highly sexual affair with a slightly older woman.
Set in the Vietnam War era, the novel portrays a working-class neighborhood that nurtured young men like Michael but also did its best to hang onto them. Michael does not triumph. Yet, in the end, he manages to break free.
Frederic Hunter, author of Kivu: Travels in Eastern Congo 1963 - 1965
This is a sensitively-written and heartfelt book about an Arab family pursuing the American Dream in the late 1960s. It’s an important story, and I learned a great deal from their travails both about the complexities of Arab-American identity and about the issues facing all immigrants to this country. In that sense, it’s a very timely novel about a subject that needs this kind of in-depth exploration.
Stephen Fife, author, The 13th Boy: A Memoir of Education and Abuse

Arab Boy Delivered: A Novel
by Paul Aziz Zarou © 2022 Paul Aziz Zarou Cune Press, Seattle 2022
ISBN : 978-1-95108-239-0 Hardcover    978-1-95108-229-1 Paperback      978-1-61457-414-9 Epub/Kindle
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Zarou, Paul Aziz, author.
Title: Arab boy delivered : a novel / by Paul Aziz Zarou.
Description: Seattle : Cune Press, [2022] | Series: Bridge between the cultures
Identifiers: LCCN 2021037192 | ISBN 9781951082390 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781951082291 (paperback)
Subjects: LCSH: Palestinian Americans--Fiction | Nineteen sixties--Fiction. | Queens (New York, N.Y.)--Fiction. | LCGFT: Bildungsromans. | Novels.
Classification: LCC PS3626.A76 A89 2022 | DDC 813/.6--dc23
LC record available at
This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments, organizations, or places mentioned are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity, and are used fictionally. The characters in the book, and the dialogue, are from the author’s imagination.

 Cune Press:
For Mom

I T WAS A BRICK , still layered with the pitted crust of mortar and chipped on one corner. Thrown with reckless anger, the brick hit dead center, collapsing the grocery’s large picture window. The shattering glass startled Michael awake some time after 2:00 am. He had been in the middle of a dream, which allowed him to imagine if for only a couple of fleeting seconds that he was still back in the comfort of his old bedroom in Brooklyn. Michael’s torso tensed and he jerked upright. A sour knot formed in the pit of his stomach at the disquieting realization that the crash that had woken him was the storefront window the window directly beneath his bedroom. Michael heard muffled hoots and shouts, followed by the sound of skidding tires as a car sped away.
During an oppressive mid-June heat wave, and a week after the Six-Day War, Michael’s father had taken ownership of the grocery in Queens Village and moved his family from their Brooklyn neighborhood, where their native Arabic was spoken and everyone was in some way related to each other if not by blood, then by heritage and community. Palestine, the country that Michael’s parents had emigrated from several years before his birth, was now occupied. And in his upstairs apartment bedroom, Michael was just starting to get comfortable in his new surroundings just beginning to learn how to sleep again.
Michael’s father, thick black hair disheveled, jumped out of bed and into his pants and flew down the stairs. Michael trailed after him, but as he took his first step out of their apartment door, his mother who had hesitated at first grabbed his arm for balance. As they carefully navigated the narrow staircase, her firm grip tugged on Michael, slowing him, holding him back, as if she didn’t want to let him go.
Michael’s mother had never spoken about her reluctance to embrace what her husband considered his stake in their future. But Michael, an only child, intuitively knew his mother’s emotional undercurrents. He often understood his mother’s position on things not by what she said, which was very little on most topics, but by the subtle shades of quiet she slipped into. By measuring the depth and weight of her introspection, he would know when to be concerned.
When his father had announced his purchase of the store, Michael felt her unspoken reluctance by her immediate retreat. But he couldn’t discern whether it stemmed from general caution or regret over their savings being sunk into a new business. Perhaps she had received an unsolicited warning from her aunt who read prognostications from the intricate swirls at the bottom of her Arabic coffee cup which Michael believed his mother wouldn’t heed anyway. But as time progressed, whatever it was that was causing her reticence seemed to dissolve, and she moved forward with a renewed acceptance. After all, how could she argue with a husband whose goal was to better their lives?
Michael had forgotten her initial reaction until this moment. As they neared the bottom of the stairs, he turned to look up at her. Her eyes widened and she gave him a slight nod, her best effort at reassuring him. But her small hand nervously clutched his arm, speaking to the contrary. She remained stoic so as not to betray how she really felt. But at fifteen, her son knew better.
The Schaefer light, which hung in the window by two thin wires, was still swinging, unbroken by the impact. The shattered window, jagged edges glistening under the swaying of the fluorescent light, reinforced Michael’s sense of exposure. He stood frozen, staring at the black gaping hole, until his father called out, "Come help."
While Michael busied himself sweeping up shards of glass from behind the counter, he spotted a large piece wedged under the worn butcher block that held the cash register. He knelt down awkwardly, and as he stretched an unsteady hand out to reach for it, he caught the sharp edge and sliced his index finger open. Blood oozed to the surface in a thick line that defined the length of the gash. As he stood up and moved his hand to examine the damage, a bright red drop spilled onto the floor and was swallowed up by the porous wood. Michael stuck his finger in his mouth the warm blood tasted sweet as he gently wrapped his tongue around the cut. And as he took that moment to nurse his finger, his nerves let go and he suddenly felt tired, faint. This feeling lasted as long as it took for his mother to splash alcohol over the cut and examine it for slivers of glass.

The 1967 Plymouth police cruiser eased up to the curb across from Haddad’s Grocery as if stopping for a routine dinner break. Sergeant Neal McClusky stepped out of the patrol car, followed by a young rookie officer, Phillip Bosco, who lagged several steps behind. McClusky walked right in, but Phillip stayed outside and surveyed the broken window and then, with the beam of his flashlight leading the way, walked the perimeter of the building. When Phillip returned, he hung back and studied the family as intently as he had the broken window.
"Do you have any idea who’d do something like this?" Sergeant McClusky asked.
In his mid-thirties, Sergeant McClusky was fit and had tight, pasty skin that appeared translucent over his sharp features, features that reflected his ear nest professional demeanor.
"No," Mr Haddad said.
McClusky shook his head. "It’s unusual. Not something that happens here. It’s a good neighborhood."
"What does that mean?"
McClusky, caught a little off guard by the pointed response, stammered a bit and then said, "Uh . . . it’s probably just some kids horsing around."
Mr Haddad didn’t appreciate the vandalism to his store being dismissed as "horsing around," but just shook his head.
"We’ll keep an eye out," McClusky assured him.
As if suddenly remembering something that he should not have forgotten, Mr. Haddad asked, "Can I get you coffee? From upstairs?" He gestured toward the deli case. "Or a sandwich?"
They politely, and somewhat awkwardly, declined both offers.
"It’s no trouble."
Phillip stepped up to the counter. "Can I get a pack of Winstons?" he asked, digging into his uniform pocket to fish out the 39 cents.
Mr Haddad handed him the cigarettes and then waved him off. "It’s okay."
"You sure?" Phillip asked with exaggerated earnestness, trying to assuage an immediate pang of regret. Maybe he shouldn’t have asked for the cigarettes. He’d become accustomed to businesses readily handing over a pack of cigarettes or a sandwich or coffee and refusing payment, but he lived in this neighborhood. It was his home. And these were new owners. Despite being in uniform, on official business, walking into this store reminded him of the countless times he’d been there to pick up groceries for his m

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