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Rabih Alameddine: The Wrong End of the Telescope

Rabih Alameddine: The Wrong End of the Telescope

Monday, September 27, 2021 - 06:30PM ET
Event Location: 
Online

Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman and many others, discusses his latest spectacular novel, The Wrong End of the Telescope.

The Wrong End of the Telescope

“No one writes fiction that is more naturally an extension of lived life than this master storyteller… Engaging and unsettling in equal measure.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Rabih Alameddine, National Book Award and the National Book Critics' Circle Award finalist for An Unnecessary Woman, returns with a transporting new novel about an Arab American trans woman's journey among Syrian refugees on Lesbos island.

Mina Simpson, a Lebanese doctor, arrives at the infamous Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, Greece, after being urgently summoned for help by her friend who runs an NGO there. Alienated from her family except for her beloved brother, Mina has avoided being so close to her homeland for decades. But with a week off work and apart from her wife of thirty years, Mina hopes to accomplish something meaningful, among the abundance of Western volunteers who pose for selfies with beached dinghies and the camp's children. Soon, a boat crosses bringing Sumaiya, a fiercely resolute Syrian matriarch with terminal liver cancer. Determined to protect her children and husband at all costs, Sumaiya refuses to alert her family to her diagnosis. Bonded together by Sumaiya's secret, a deep connection sparks between the two women, and as Mina prepares a course of treatment with the limited resources on hand, she confronts the circumstances of the migrants' displacement, as well as her own constraints in helping them.

Cunningly weaving in stories of other refugees into Mina's singular own, The Wrong End of the Telescope is a bedazzling tapestry of both tragic and amusing portraits of indomitable spirits facing a humanitarian crisis.

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels The Angel of History; An Unnecessary Woman; The Hakawati; I, the Divine; Koolaids; and the story collection The Perv. In 2019, he won the Dos Passos Prize. He tweets at @rabihalameddine.