Kisses from a Distance [NOOK Book]


Kisses from a Distance is an engaging, true story that examines the Lebanese ethos through the lives and travails of three families before and after immigration to America. The tale begins in 1895 at a remote convent in the mountains of Lebanon where a young postulant, the author’s grandmother, is abducted and given into an unanticipated, and unwanted, marriage.

The book takes the reader on a personalized journey through the tragedies caused by war, famine, pestilence, and ...

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Kisses from a Distance

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Kisses from a Distance is an engaging, true story that examines the Lebanese ethos through the lives and travails of three families before and after immigration to America. The tale begins in 1895 at a remote convent in the mountains of Lebanon where a young postulant, the author’s grandmother, is abducted and given into an unanticipated, and unwanted, marriage.

The book takes the reader on a personalized journey through the tragedies caused by war, famine, pestilence, and death, one that examines an emerging post-feudal Lebanese society, and the conditions that impelled the great migration that took place between 1885 and 1914.

“The population had long since exceeded the land’s ability to sustain it, and soon the few pebbles that tumbled down the mountain and rolled onto ships heading west, became an avalanche of humanity seeking passage to the land of opportunity.”
Kisses from a Distance; Chapter 3, p. 37.

This work is not the normal nostalgic reminiscences of a memoir writer but an important historical document told in an engaging non-historical style. There are no dry recitations of dates and events but instead an interestingly woven tale of circumstances as lived by the principal characters in the story. The reader is taken on a rewarding journey that utilizes rare documents to relate the story in the characters' own words.

Reviewer Sam Hazo, Director of the International Poetry Forum in Pittsburgh, Pa. had this to say: “This book has something for all whose personal or family history includes immigration. And, since we are a nation of immigrants, this includes all of us.”

Helen Thomas, former dean of The White House correspondents, remarked that Kisses... "Brought tears to my eyes. It is beautifully written."

Raff Ellis is a former computer industry executive and a frequent writer of short stories, essays, and magazine articles. He spent nearly eight years researching and writing Kisses, his first full length book, and his journey, so worthwhile for him, will reward the reader as well.

Mr. Ellis has been interviewed on NPR, MTV Lebanon, given a book lecture at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and lectured at the top four universities in Lebanon.

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Editorial Reviews

Hani Bathish
As expressed in "Kisses from a Distance," the subject of migration resonates deeply for nearly every American family today, more so than at any time since WWI. The author's visits to Lebanon, his meticulous research and his tenacious quest to trace his roots has resulted in tour de force memoir. The real-life dramas unfolding between these pages make for a very compelling read, turning "Kisses from a Distance" into a veritable page-turner.
Michael Teague
The dynamic of this book is due in large part to the fact that the author had at his disposal the letters his mother received from her family and friends, and not the ones she wrote to them. This not only leaves room for imagination but also makes Ellis’s trips back to Lebanon to conduct research as central a theme as his parents’ initial journey to America, giving the work a very enjoyably personal feel.

This book is to be enjoyed by anyone from immigrant stock.
Hansen Donna
Kisses from a Distance, which represents eight years of research and writing is a book that chronicles three Lebanese families, beginning with the kidnapping of the author's grandmother from a remote Lebanese convent in 1895. The story follows travails of the tragedies of WWI, famine pestilence, and death. Ellis also traces the lives of those who emigrated to “pluck gold off the trees” in America. The book covers 100 years of history,and is both educational and entertainig.
Irene Ramadan
This book is a faithfully recreated memoir that will no doubt endure through time solely because of its documentary value. It is thoroughly an faithfully researched in its historical and sociological aspects and yet it reads like a novel.

L'Orient le Jour (Beirut/Paris)
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940045617208
  • Publisher: Raff Ellis
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Sold by: Smashwords
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Raff Ellis, a former computer industry business executive, whose writing credits include many short stories, magazine articles, columns, essays and three books.Ellis' first full length book, Kisses from a Distance, published in 2007 by Cune Press, Seattle, WA, was nominated for a National Book Award and won the prize for adult non-fiction given by the AANM of Dearborn, MI.His second work, Dam Foolishness, also published by Cune Press in 2011, is a memoir about growing up in small town America. This work has often been greeted with accolades for Mr. Ellis' storytelling ability.Ellis' most recent effort, The Bishop's Curse, (Prolix Press LLC, 2012), was the culmination of over twenty years of sporadically researching and collecting information about the 150 year-old story he first heard as a youth growing up in Carthage, New York. His research took him to libraries and historical centers across northern and central New York as he acquired histories of the period, biographies of church personages, archival letters of the principals involved, and material scanned from microfilms of old newspapers.Raff Ellis is a graduate of LeMoyne College with a BS in Pure Science and also holds a MBA from the University of Central Florida. He spent his entire business career in the computer industry, rising from the ranks of computer programmer to CEO of an Information Technology R & D firm.Mr. Ellis, along with his wife Loretta, their dog Abla, and two cats, Lenny and George (apologies to Of Mice and Men), reside in Central Florida.
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Table of Contents

Foreword     11
Family Tree     14
The Hobeiches
A man is not a stranger because you do not know him     19
I am in the west, but they call to me from the east     27
If you marry well, you should be able to treat her well     33
One's feet carry him only to places he wants to be     39
Things to come are nearer than things that are gone     47
She finds fault in a bird even when it's flying     51
A noble person is noble though privation touches him     59
Unless a crisis reaches its limit, it cannot recede     65
The last resort is the hangman's noose     69
The millstones rumble after the wheat is ground     77
The day may pass but the evil thereof does not     83
The camel's intention is one thing, the camel-driver's something else     87
The beginning of a quarrel is a spark, the end is flames     93
He sold the bear's skin before he shot the bear     99
The Kmeids
A mule has to wait till the grass grows     107
If you wish to tell lies, be far away from those you lie about     117
The kindred of the spade are easily recognizable     123
A man is worth what his clothes are     131
Carthago delenda est     141
His tongue fails when it comes to his own praise     149
The sky was dark, but they knew not the storm     155
The world sides with he who is left standing     161
He who experiences the good should expect the better     167
A lover of his money has no lover     173
The homeland yearns for its sons     179
The Hobeiche-Kmeid Union
Ask your heart, and it will tell you what to do     189
He who wants to eat honey should bear the stings of bees     195
When an object is kept from the eyes, the heart forgets it     201
A trade without its master soon disintegrates     209
To go away is within one's will but to return is not     215
Pride was the cause of the angel's fall from heaven     221
A husband is not a flower with which to decorate your head     227
Life is full of misery, and most is caused by women     233
A rightful claim does not die with the passage of time     237
To expect death is worse than death     241
That which is hidden is that which never takes place     245
The son of the brother becomes the enemy of the sister     251
The man makes the money, but the woman builds the home     259
He who lengthens his stride, falls down      267
If partnership was a blessing, every two men would marry one woman     277
When livelihoods were distributed, one was not satisfied     291
el Khazen - Hobeiche Family Tree     14
Kmeid Family Tree     15
Warrior Sheikh Yousef Hobeiche     76
Sister Miriam & Angele Hobeiche     98
Young Toufic Kmeid     122
Christine with husband Rebhan Abdoo Kmeid     148
Toufic and his 1923 Buick Roadster     172
Toufic & Angele on their wedding day     194
Zakia, Emily, & Angele in Marseilles     200
Triumphant Toufic returns to the US     208
Angele in Marsielles     214
Sheikh Yousef with his second wife, Nahde     232
Brothers Khalil & Yousef Hobeiche     250
Adela el Khazen Hobeiche     258
Toufic Traad Ellis, circa 1935     276
Angele Hobeiche Ellis, circa 1960     290
The first three Ellis children. From left, Theresa, Raffee, Delo     300
The author during the Korean War, 1952     312
Afterword     301
Bibliography     306
Acknowledgements     307
Index     308
The Author     312
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