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BookBrowse Reviews The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine

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The Wrong End of the Telescope

by Rabih Alameddine

The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine X
The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine
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  • Published:
    Sep 2021, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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A humorous, metafictional examination of displacement, power and privilege.

Rabih Alameddine's The Wrong End of the Telescope follows Mina, a Lebanese American doctor who travels to Lesbos to help Syrian refugees arriving on the Greek island. A transgender woman, Mina lives with her wife Francine in Chicago, estranged from her immediate family due to their refusal to accept her transitioning — with the exception of her brother Mazen, who will soon join her from (relatively) nearby Beirut. In the narration, Mina reveals that she is telling the story of her experiences in Lesbos at the request of a mysterious "you."

"You suggested I write this," she says. "You, the writer, couldn't. ... You insisted I write the refugee story, as well as your story and mine. This thing."

Eventually, Mina begins to hint that the "you" in question may be Alammedine himself, or a character based on him — a Lebanese writer who has, like her, arrived on Lesbos to offer...

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