Rabih Alameddine biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Rabih Alameddine

Rabih Alameddine

How to pronounce Rabih Alameddine: Rah-be Ahlah-m'dean

Rabih Alameddine Biography

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels An Unnecessary Woman; I, the Divine; Koolaids; The Hakawati; The Wrong End of the Telescope; and the story collection, The Perv. In 2019, he won the Dos Passos Prize.



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Interview

A wide ranging conversation with Rabih Alameddine, in which he discusses his first novel The Hakawati and what he hopes it will teach readers about Middle-Eastern culture, his views on modern-day Lebanon, where he found inspiration for the book, and whether it is based on a particular hakawati (story-teller).

Okay, let's begin at the beginning. Do you remember when the idea for The Hakawati came to you? In your mind's eye, what did you see?

Along time ago, in a galaxy far, far away—oh, never mind. 

The idea for The Hakawati had many beginnings, as is the case for many a novel, I presume. Which beginning would one consider to be the true one, the original?

Let's see, in 1999 I wrote a long piece that was later trimmed and published as a short story in Zoetrope. That was chapter 10 from the novel—which goes back and forth between my main character Osama al-Kharrat's visit to the UCLA campus as a teenager and his vigil at his father's hospital bed years later—in a different form. I wrote a couple more stories, one successful, the other not. The latter ended up as a part of the book. I had begun to see the al-Kharrat family in my head. It still wasn't a novel. I was floundering. I had different novels in my head and none of them seemed to make much sense.

I was teaching in Beirut 2003—annus horribilis, as the Queen would say—when my father was dying in the hospital. I couldn't follow through on any of the novels I had in my head, so I began to write something completely ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Rabih Alameddine at BookBrowse
The Wrong End of the Telescope jacket The Angel of History jacket An Unnecessary Woman jacket The Hakawati jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Rabih Alameddine but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Anita Amirrezvani

    Anita Amirrezvani

    Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in San Francisco. For ten years, she was a dance critic for newspapers in the Bay Area. She has received fellowships from the National Arts Journalism Program, the NEA's ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Hakawati

    Try:
    The Blood of Flowers
    by Anita Amirrezvani

  • John Banville

    John Banville

    John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He was educated at a Christian Brother's school and St Peter's College in Wexford. After leaving college he worked for Aer Lingus in Dublin, Ireland - which gave him the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    An Unnecessary Woman

    Try:
    The Blue Guitar
    by John Banville

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