Dislocation (Rabih Alameddine)
In America, I fit but I do not belong.
In Lebanon, I belong but I do not fit.
I wrote the above in my first book, years and years ago. This theme, fitting and not fitting, belonging and not belonging, is the leitmotif of my work.
I shudder when my books are called immigrant literature. They aren’t, I wish to scream. I never left Lebanon. Well, physically maybe, but not emotionally. But then, I may have. I am an American. But I am Lebanese. Even when I left, I never stayed away for more than six months. I returned constantly. I’m not am American. I am no longer Lebanese.
Maybe I did leave, but I didn’t arrive.
The theme of my work isn’t exile. Exile implies forcible or permanent separation. My work is about dislocation.
Dislocate: to put out of place; put out of proper relative position. My characters and I are out of place. Yet, we have no proper relative position; we have no place.
Dislocation isn’t exactly about place, isn’t about physical distance. I write about emotional dislocation, of belonging and not belonging, of being a part of a family and being apart, of being American and not, of being an Arab and being Western. I write about a woman in a man’s world, I write about a gay man in a straight world. I write about psychological straddling.
Dislocation: I am both enmeshed in the world I live in and I stand apart from it.
Whenever she is in Beirut, home is New York. Whenever she is in New York, home is Beirut. Home is never where she is, but where she is not.
I wrote the above in my third book.
I feel fortunate, because, at times, I can see.
Pour citer cette ressource :
Rabih Alameddine, "Dislocation (Rabih Alameddine)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mai 2014. Consulté le 03/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/entretiens-et-textes-inedits/dislocation-rabih-alameddine-