Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press
NEW!

The Wrong End of the Telescope

by Rabih Alameddine

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

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 368
  • Publication Date September 21, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5780-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date September 21, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5782-9
  • US List Price $27.00

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 a humanitarian crisis.

Tags Literary

Advance Praise for 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)

“Profound and wonderful… A wise, deeply moving story that can still locate humor in the pit of hell… A triumph.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Mina is a riveting narrator, struggling to find her footing even when the weight of her identity is crushing… A kaleidoscopic view of the many facets of the refugee crisis.”—Booklist

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

“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, author of 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, author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution

“Rabih Alameddine’s latest novel is excellent in so many ways; the story, the people and how he has crafted this book in such a way as to hold a mirror up to the reader’s instincts, beliefs and actions when confronted with people different than some of us and in many cases in dire straits because of political or personal ruthlessness, indifference and cruelty. Truly a brilliant and deeply engaging work of art. Truly, truly.”—Sheryl Cotleur, Frontlist Buyer, Copperfield’s Books

Praise for The Angel of History:

“Rabih Alameddine is one of our most daring writers–daring not in the cheap sense of lurid or racy, but as a surgeon, a philosopher, an explorer, or a dancer.”—Michael Chabon

“A remarkable novel, a commentary of love and death, creativity and spirituality, memory and survival . . . brilliant . . . [it] hits an emotional nerve.”—Los Angeles Review of Books 

“Alameddine, entrancing and unflinching, is in easy command of his bricolage narrative, and he leavens its tragedy with wit.”—New York Times Book Review 

“A sprawling fever dream of a novel, by turns beautiful and horrifying, and impossible to forget. Alameddine is a writer with a boundless imagination . . . [his] writing is so beautiful, so exuberant.”—NPR

Praise for An Unnecessary Woman:

“A meditation on, among other things, aging, politics, literature, loneliness, grief and resilience. If there are flaws to this beautiful and absorbing novel, they are not readily apparent.”—New York Times 

“Irresistible . . . [the author] offers winningly unrestricted access to the thoughts of his affectionate, urbane, vulnerable and fractiously opinionated heroine. Mr. Alameddine’s portrayal of a life devoted to the intellect is so candid and human that, for a time, readers can forget that any such barrier exists.”—Wall Street Journal 

“Alameddine has conjured a beguiling narrator in his engaging novel, a woman who is, like her city, hard to read, hard to take, hard to know and, ultimately, passionately complex.”—San Francisco Chronicle 

“A restlessly intelligent novel built around an unforgettable character . . . A novel full of elegant, poetic sentences.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune