Rabih Alameddine

Cindy Seip

Rabih Alameddine is the author of The Angel of History; An Unnecessary Woman: A Novel; The Hakawati: A Story; I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters; Koolaids; and the story collection The Perv. Mina Simpson, the narrator of The Wrong End of the Telescope: A Novel (Grove Press), is a transgender Lebanese doctor dealing with the plight of refugees in the Moria camp on Lesbos, Greece. 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 30 years, Mina hopes to accomplish something meaningful among the 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, she refuses to alert her family to her diagnosis. A deep connection grows of their shared secrets, 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. Publishers Weekly called it a “triumph. … Profound and wonderful … A wise, deeply moving story that can still locate humor in the pit of hell.”