Rabih Alameddine

«You can say that Lebanese has hundreds of lexemes for family relations. Family to the Lebanese is as snow to the Inuit.»

Rabih Alameddine


«There are two kinds of people in this world: people who want to be desired, and people who want to be desired so much that they pretend they don't.»

Rabih Alameddine


«Me? I was lost for long time. I didn’t make any friends for few years. You can say I made friends with two trees, two big trees in the middle of the school […]. I spent all my free time up in those trees. Everyone called me Tree Boy for the longest time. […]. I preferred trees to people. After that I preferred pigeons, but it was trees first.»

Rabih Alameddine


«I can relate to Marguerite Duras even though I'm not French, nor have I been consumed by love for an East Asian man. I can life inside Alice Munro's skin. But I can't relate to my own mother. My body is full of sentences and moments, my heart resplendent with lovely turns of phrases, but neither is able to be touched by another.»

Rabih Alameddine


«I was a lonely boy. I spent all my time reading books and watching the world. [some] tried to draw me out at first, but their hearts weren't in it. And after all, they had enough troubles of their own.»

Rabih Alameddine


«I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time.»

Rabih Alameddine


«...What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.»

Rabih Alameddine


«In every evocation of a childhood scene, my stepfather's face is the least detailed, the most out of focus; when I think of him my memory's eyes have cataracts." (p. 12)»

Rabih Alameddine


«By remaining constrained in one's environment or country or family, one has little chance of being other than the original prescription. By leaving, one gains a perspective, a distance of both space and time, which is essential for writing about family or home, in any case.»

Rabih Alameddine


«Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble. I have adapted tamely, though not conventionally, to this visible world so I can retreat without much inconvenience into my inner world of books." (p. 5)»

Rabih Alameddine


«How can I expect readers to know who I am if I do not tell them about my family, my friends, the relationships in my life? Who am I if not where I fit in the world, where I fit in the lives of the people dear to me?»

Rabih Alameddine


«Once there was and once there was not a devout, God-fearing man who lived his entire life according to stoic principles. He died on his fortieth birthday and woke up floating in nothing. Now, mind you, floating in nothing was comforting, light-less, airless, like a mother’s womb. This man was grateful.»

Rabih Alameddine


«He may be my half brother, but we're not related. A chasm of incommunicable worlds lies between us." (p. 70)»

Rabih Alameddine


«Memory chooses to preserve what desire cannot hope to sustain.»

Rabih Alameddine


«I wonder whether there is such a thing as a sense of individuality. Is it all a facade, covering a deep need to belong? Are we simply pack animals desperately trying to pretend we are not?»

Rabih Alameddine


«Fate would never permit happiness to a man of such talent-»

Rabih Alameddine


«Sex, like art, can unsettle a soul, can grind a heart in a mortar. Sex, like literature, can sneak the other within one's wall, even if for only a moment, a moment before one immures oneself again.»

Rabih Alameddine


«Passion was the antithesis of morality.»

Rabih Alameddine


«Is life less thrilling if your neighbors are rational, if they don’t bomb your power stations whenever they feel you need to be admonished? Is it less rousing if they don’t rattle your windows and nerves with indiscriminate sonic booms just because they can?»

Rabih Alameddine