Author Ghassan Zeineddine’s debut collection of short stories, “Dearborn,” explores interconnected Arab American experiences in the titular city.
The setting: Dearborn, near Detroit, Michigan, has a substantial Arab American population, reflected in businesses like Yemeni cafes and Lebanese boutiques.
* Zeineddine, a Lebanese-American and former Dearborn resident, draws on the diverse cultural landscape of the city in his narratives.
Character exploration: Zeineddine’s stories are rooted in a century-old Arab American community, inhabited by immigrants of varied creeds, who work in diverse professions.
* One story features a genderqueer butcher named Yasser, who lives a compartmentalized life due to the social conservatism of his immigrant background.
Pushing boundaries: Many of Zeineddine’s characters form unusual alliances and opt for roads less taken, surpassing facile stereotypes.
* Their experiences offer readers nuanced appreciations of Arab American life in Dearborn, beyond preconceived biases.
Author insights: Zeineddine voices an affectionate fondness for Dearborn, with its vibrancy and multicultural richness influencing his storytelling.
* He aims to expand the horizons of Arab American fiction, planning future pieces, including a novel about a peddler based on his great-grandfather.
Community support: Zeineddine highlights progressive Muslim leaders in Dearborn, such as Democratic Mayor Abdullah Hammoud and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.
* These leaders openly support LGBTQ rights, illuminating the diverse and evolving perspectives within the city’s Muslim-majority population.
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