Publication Date: 02/09/2021 ISBN: 9781472156112 Category:

The Wrong End of the Telescope

Rabih Alameddine

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication Date: 02/09/2021 ISBN: 9781472156112 Category:




‘A beautiful, well paced, enraging, funny and heartbreaking book’ the Guardian

‘Spectacular . . . Alameddine’s irreverent prose evokes the old master storytellers from my own Middle Eastern home . . . deeply poignant’ New York Times

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.

Not since the inimitable Aaliya of An Unnecessary Woman has Rabih Alameddine conjured such a winsome heroine to lead us to one of the most wrenching conflicts of our time. 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 this humanitarian crisis.

‘Alameddine hits a distinctly contemporary note with this new book about refugees . . . it feels totally authentic’ Sunday Times

Publisher Review

The Wrong End of the Telescope is the best kind of prose. Lines break out like poetry and the story muscles on, telling. The setting is real history which I'm hungry for and Rabih Alameddine queers it handsomely with all kinds of love and a feeling that existence is pure experience, not language at all and the shape of this book, right up to the end, is a becoming. * Eileen Myles, author of Afterglow and Chelsea Girls * Rabih Alameddine is a master of both the intimate and the global -- and The Wrong End of the Telescope finds him at the top of his craft. A story of rescue, identity, deracination, and connection, this novel is timely and urgent and a lot of fun. * Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers. * The incomparable Rabih Alameddine's latest novel shows sly wit, poetic turns of phrase, and the slow-burning outrage at the ongoing Mediterranean refugee crisis--but I particularly love his understated handling of Mina, the novel's transgender narrator. Her identity is not a battlefield for the culture wars, just a refreshingly unproblematic perspective from which a story unfolds. * Susan Stryker, Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution *

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