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Rabih Alameddine Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Koolaids: The Art of War (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
I, The Divine (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hakawati / The Storyteller (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Unnecessary Woman (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Angel of History (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wrong End of the Telescope (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Publication Order of Anthologies

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fight of the Century(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Rabih Alameddine is a notable literary figure in the world who won the Faulkner/PEN Award. He has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction, and the Arab American Book Award.

Alameddine was born in Amman, Jordan to Lebanese parents before he moved to Lebanon when he was ten to study. According to the author, growing up as he did provided him with the option of three career paths: an engineer, a doctor, or a failure.
However, Rabih always knew that he wanted to be a doctor and hence when war broke out in Lebanon, he stayed in England to continue studying, before he ultimately moved to Los Angeles California.

Since he knew that he had always been very good at applied mathematics, Alameddine decided to go to the University of California, where he studied for an engineering degree.

Working as a mechanical engineer, he knew he would never care about the working of a car, and as such, it only took him half a year into his first job, for him to acknowledge that engineering was a major career mistake.
He usually loves to say that it was at this point that he enrolled for a master’s degree, which was his second mistake.

Upon his graduation with his business degree, he struggled as he had just been recently diagnosed with HIV and also had to deal with the pressures of a new job.
It was soon after this that he got into painting and within the year, his work was being showcased in Beirut, London, and New York.

But despite attaining a lot of success, he always felt that he was not good enough and never called himself a painter, as he attributed his success to luck.
Over several years, he tried to deal with his insecurities by experimenting with different media and solving problems and ultimately came up with a unique style.
Nonetheless, he was never comfortable being a visual artist and often felt like a fraud and only felt to a degree comfortable when he was writing.

Rabih Alameddine ultimately decided to pursue his writing talents and soon was contacted to write “Koolaid” his first book.

The work that he published in 1998 explored the Civil War in Beirut, the meaning of life, sex, death, and the AIDS epidemic.

It was this novel that would launch his career and it was not long before he had at least half a dozen novels that have all become award-winning titles.

His writing expertise has got him into many teaching positions and he has come to describe his teaching style as “hit and run,” as he teaches just about everyone from recent undergraduate students to prisoners and expats.
Alameddine has said that he particularly loves to teach Syrian children refugees since they have such an eagerness to learn and become successful writers.

For Alamaddine, the best thing he ever learned as a teacher is how to balance a creative and carefree approach to writing with serious intention.

He made use of this approach in crafting almost all of his works, particularly “The Wrong End of the Telescope,” which he published in 2021.

He has also been a Medical Humanities Scholar in Residence at Georgetown University, where he taught Literature on AIDS.

“An Unnecessary Woman” by Rabih Alameddine is a heartrending work celebrating the life and times of an obsessive introvert, even as it reveals the horrors and beauties of Beirut along the way.

Aaliya Sohbi the lead lives all alone in her apartment in Beirut with stockpiles of books for company. Childless, godless, divorced, and fatherless, she is an unnecessary appendage to her family.
Each year, she usually gets her new favorite work and translates it into Arabic before stowing it away. She has so far done thirty-seven titles but none has been read by anyone.
When she hears the three witches who are her neighbors saying that her hair is too white, she dyes it blue but accidentally makes it too blue.

This is a fascinating insight into a recluse’s life as we follow her digressive mind as it goes back to the past and ricochets back to the present.

Coming with insightful musings on art, philosophy, and literature, we also get an exploration into Aaliya’s volatile past and the Lebanese Civil War.

Trying to overcome her spontaneous emotional upwellings and her aging body, Aaliya has to deal with an unthinkable disaster that could destroy everything she has left.

Rabih Alameddine’s novel “The Hakawati” is an exuberant and inventive novel that takes you from the war-torn streets of Lebanon of the twenty-first century to ancient Egypt with its shimmering dunes.

In 2003, Osama al-Kharrat is back in Beirut to see his ailing father, after he spent decades in America. The city is nothing like what he remembers, but he finds comfort in gossip, stories, and laughter, which are things that have always sustained them.

His grandfather was a storyteller of Hawakati and he used to tell some great stories of how he arrived in Lebanon and how the Turkish wars left him an orphan, to soon become known as the fibster.
It is a reimagined tale of a prince that beat the Crusaders, Isaac, and Abraham, the Baybars, the father of the Arab tribes Ishmael, and the fabled Fatima.

The author also includes the modern Lebanese in these stories, as he tells a heartbreaking and larger tale of the struggle for survival in the country.

Similar to a Hawakati, Alameddine gives us a work just like the Arabian Nights in an enchanting novel that is dazzling from the very first page to the last.

“The Wrong End of the Telescope” by Rabih Alameddine is a fascinating work that transports you alongside a trans-Arab-American woman who is a Syrian refugee on Lesbos Island.

A Lebanese doctor named Mina Simpson has just arrived at the Moria refugee camp after she was asked to come help a friend that is in charge of an NGO based on Lesbos Island, Greece.
She has been alienated from everyone except for her brother and she has not been home for decades.

However, after taking a week off work and spending some time apart from her wife of three decades, he hopes to accomplish something meaningful and stand out among all the Western volunteers posing with the camp children and beached dinghies.
It is not long before a boat arrives carrying a resolute and fierce Syrian matriarch named Sumaiya, who is suffering from terminal liver cancer.

She is determined to protect her husband and children at all costs and will not inform her family of her devastating diagnosis.

Brought together by her secret, the two women soon develop a deep connection in the midst of one of the most heartwrenching conflicts of our time.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rabih Alameddine

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