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Hotline : a novel

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    A vivid love letter to the 1980s and one woman’s struggle to overcome the challenges of immigration. It’s 1986, and after four months of unemployment Muna Heddad is in a bind. She and her son have moved to Montreal from Beirut to escape a never-ending civil war. She had plans to find work as a French teacher, but no one in Quebec has confidence in a new arrival like 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 where she gets a job 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. Much to her surprise, Muna finds that she is actually becoming successful at selling diet plans. Even though she’s pretending to be someone else, her natural empathy can’t help but shine when listening to the confidential tribulations of people who, elsewhere in life, wouldn’t sit with her for lunch or offer her a job. Following international acclaim for Niko (2011) and The Bleeds (2018), Dimitri Nasrallah has written a vivid love letter to the 1980s, bringing this era of Montreal into the current moment through his deeply endearing portrait of Muna Heddad’s struggle.

    Original Publisher: Montréal, Québec, Canada, Esplanade Books, the fiction imprint at Véhicule Press
    Language(s): English
    ISBN: 9781550655940, 1550655949