These loosely connected stories exploring the lives of Arab Americans in their Dearborn Michigan community are pure lightning! A titanic survivor recounts a tale of lost love, a person juggles their secret identity with their traditional family responsibilities, and a man finds success in the unlikely world of audio book narration, or does he? These stories are fresh and exciting. Filled with Themes of family, otherness, and what it means to succeed. They are thought provoking and funny, but tender and joyful too. Just a lovely book.
A WASHINGTON POST BEST BOOK OF SEPTEMBER • A GOOD HOUSEKEEPING BEST BOOK OF FALL
As heard on NPR Weekend Edition
"Funny and sincere. . . . connected by history, by ambition, by a myth of a nation that never manifests but is reborn again and again in the immigrant gaze.”—New York Times Book Review
A sharp, tender, and uproariously funny portrait of the lives of Arab American community members in Dearborn, Michigan.
Spanning several decades, Ghassan Zeineddine’s debut collection examines the diverse range and complexities of the Arab American community in Dearborn, Michigan. In ten tragicomic stories, Zeineddine explores themes of identity, generational conflicts, war trauma, migration, sexuality, queerness, home and belonging, and more.
In Dearborn, a father teaches his son how to cheat the IRS and hide their cash earnings inside of frozen chickens. Tensions heighten within a close-knit group of couples when a mysterious man begins to frequent the local gym pool, dressed in Speedos printed with nostalgic images of Lebanon. And a failed stage actor attempts to drive a young Lebanese man with ambitions of becoming a Hollywood action hero to LA, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have other plans.
By turns wildly funny, incisive, and deeply moving, Dearborn introduces readers to an arresting new voice in contemporary fiction and invites us all to consider what it means to be part of a place and community, and how it is that we help one another survive.
About the Author
Ghassan Zeineddine was born in Washington, DC, and raised in the Middle East. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at Oberlin College, and co-editor of the creative nonfiction anthology Hadha Baladuna: Arab American Narratives of Boundary and Belonging. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Ohio.
Funny and sincere. . . . connected by history, by ambition, by a myth of a nation that never manifests but is reborn again and again in the immigrant gaze. — New York Times Book Review
Both witty and thoughtful, Zeineddine’s tragicomic stories about Arab American characters in Dearborn, Mich., explore themes of immigration, prejudice, sexuality, belonging and more. — The Washington Post
Fresh, exciting, and as American as it gets. — Good Housekeeping, A Best Book of Fall
Builds surprising, tender alliances and chooses idiosyncratic paths that exceed easy stereotypes. — NPR
Stories full of humor and warmth about an Arab American community. Inspiring. . . . Masterfully told. . . . What Zeineddine can do with a simple storyline and a few pages is a thing of wonder. A fantastic collection heralding the voice of a major new writer. — Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
Whether it’s an aspiring actor evading ICE or a cross-dressing butcher, these characters are fully fleshed in their desire, fears, and contradictions. A brilliant work of fiction that will undoubtedly be canon in Arab American literature. — Electric Literature
Terrific. . . . funny and tender tales will remain in your memory for a long while. — The Center for Fiction
Couched in humorous antics and poignant remembrances, the book deftly covers themes of assimilation and belonging, generational divides, migration, class mobility, masculinity, and queerness. — The Rumpus
A supremely accomplished debut. — The National News
A nuanced exploration into all aspects of a community. . . . Reading this collection is an eye-opening experience for those who only encountered these kinds of characters in mainstream American media. — Debutiful, a Most Anticipated Book of 2023
It's a testament to the author's skill in hooking the reader with good stories and great characters. This is a standout collection with strong book club appeal that will have readers eagerly awaiting Zeineddine's follow-up. — Chicago Public Library, A Best Book of 2023
Captivating. . . . These stories, written in Zeineddine’s compassionate and droll prose, evoke laughter, tears, and introspection. — BOMB Magazine
Reads like a Lebanese party: glittering matriarchs, smoking naughty men, great food, arguments, love affairs, loud voices—and, above all, a love of Lebanon. . . . .Zeineddine is a writer to watch. — Necessary Fiction
Examines the immigrant experience, the weight of memory, the myths we create, and the meaning of home, in a voice that’s forthright and refreshing. — Library Journal
A razor sharp look into identity, migration and inherited trauma. . . . these tales are at times hilarious, but also heartening as they explores the complex and colorful lives of a range of characters. — She Reads
Dearborn is a charming, insightful collection of 10 stories with a delightful, comic edge, exploring the distinct experiences of Arab Americans who have made a home in the midwestern United States.
— Shelf Awareness
Zeineddine's eye for unusual, often surreal detail enables him to construct unique narratives. . . . Arab, not, or not really, here are true individuals seeking ways to express their identity against and across resistant geographic and cultural reference points. — The Markaz Review
Funny, tender. — Michigan Radio
The stories in Dearborn—by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, astute and absurd—capture such a vital, underspoken aspect of the Arab-American experience, that sense of being not quite from the place you love and not quite loved by the place you’re from. Ghassan Zeineddine has a talent for those very small details of Arab life in a place like Dearborn—the generational fatalism, the converted garage living room, the unlikely mash-up of cuisines at the neighborhood restaurant. These are wonderful stories from an exciting new name in Arab-American literature.
— Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise
Dearborn is one of the funniest, truest, and most heartfelt books I have ever read. Zeineddine writes with so much grace and understanding, so much love and compassion, so much mastery that these stories will become part of who you are.
— Morgan Talty, bestselling author of Night of the Living Rez
At once urgent and timeless, the stories in Dearborn are searing and unflinching snapshots of an immigrant community struggling to carve out space for itself, to find home in unfamiliar territory. The unforgettable characters slash through stereotypes as they navigate heart-wrenching and absurd situations, all the while grappling with identity and intergenerational tensions. The world Zeineddine creates is filled with beauty, brutal realities, and humor. I couldn't put it down.
— Zaina Arafat, author of You Exist Too Much
These stories will stay with you for weeks and years after you’ve finished them, making you again laugh, wonder, and rage. Dearborn is masterful, gentle, wild, and full of heart.
— Rivka Galchen, author of Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch