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Fiction Literary

Hotline

by (author) Dimitri Nasrallah

Publisher
Vehicule Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2022
Category
Literary, City Life
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781550655940
    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price
    $21.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781550656008
    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price
    $13.99

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Description

A vivid love letter to the 1980s and one woman’s struggle to overcome the challenges of immigration.

It’s 1986, and Muna Heddad is in a bind. She and her son have moved to Montreal, leaving behind a civil war filled with bad memories in Lebanon. She had plans to find work as a French teacher, but no one in Quebec trusts her to teach the language. She needs to start making money, and fast. The only work Muna can find is at a weight-loss center as a hotline operator.

All day, she takes calls from people responding to ads seen in magazines or on TV. On the phone, she’s Mona, and she’s quite good at listening. These strangers all have so much to say once someone shows interest in their lives–marriages gone bad, parents dying, isolation, personal inadequacies. Even as her daily life in Canada is filled with invisible barriers at every turn, at the office Muna is privy to her clients’ deepest secrets.

Following international acclaim for Niko (2011) and The Bleeds (2018), Dimitri Nasrallah has written a vivid elegy to the 1980s, the years he first moved to Canada, bringing the era’s systemic challenges into the current moment through this deeply endearing portrait of struggle, perseverance, and bonding.

About the author

Dimitri Nasrallah was born in 1977, during the Lebanese civil war. In 1981, his family went into exile, living in Athens, Kuwait, and Dubai before immigrating to Canada in 1988. He received a Bachelor’s degree from York University in 2001, and then a Master’s degree from Concordia University in 2003. He currently lives in Montreal. His first novel,Blackbodying, has received national acclaim in Canada. The novel won the 2005 Quebec Writer’s Federation McAuslan First Book Prize, and was a finalist for the 2005 Grand Prix Du Livre de Montreal and a 2005 Independent Publishers’ Book Prize. His short story “The Forested Knolls of Elbasan” won the 2006 CBC Quebec Short Story Competition. He recently published his second novel, Nico. Apart from his creative work, he is a cultural critic whose writing has appeared in the Montreal Gazette, Montreal Review of Books, Exclaim!, Toronto’s Eye Weekly, and Urb.

Dimitri Nasrallah's profile page

Awards

  • Long-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize

Editorial Reviews

“Nasrallah’s fourth novel, it takes his work to a new level of sophistication and constitutes a significant addition to the literary chronicling of the Canadian immigrant experience.” – Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette

Hotline intertwines hope and sorrow to create a moving story that sears the heart.” - Zeahaa Rehman, Quill & Quire

“I admire how Nasrallah plumbs new territory with each novel. That said, underlying themes and concerns thread through his oeuvre, such as emotional and geographic exile and ‘family.’" - Ami Sands Brodoff, Montreal Review of Books

“A quietly transformative story, one that takes your assumptions, twists them into a shape you didn’t initially see and casts them back at you in a really lovely way.” - Alison Manley, Miramichi Reader

"Fiction about immigrants tends toward melancholy and tragedy. Dimitri Nasrallah’s new novel delivers something different. Hotline suggests that immigrant literature may be able to navigate its own course between the Scylla of despair and the Charybdis of naïveté. The problems of bootstraps narratives aside, happy endings are still worth writing." – Amanda Perry, The Walrus

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