“Hilarious and heartbreaking.” —Omar El Akkad
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 L.A., 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.
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
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
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