The Lebanese Dishwasher

Amir Radi hates washing dishes. When he left Beirut, with a tightly grasped suitcase, he hadn’t expected he’d end up at a Middle-Eastern restaurant with old cooks and dirty dishes. Amir knows his immigrant dream has somehow drowned in foamy dishwater. But one night, he meets Rami and begins to feel less isolated, more hopeful, and closer to overcoming a tragic time in his childhood, something he had tried to leave in Beirut. Set in Montreal and Lebanon, The Lebanese Dishwasher tells the story of one man’s struggle with his past and self-acceptance while burdened with culture and obligation.

About The Author

Sonia Saikaley


Reviews of this Book

“Art is as much about creating as it is about giving”. Sonia Saikaley is a breath of fresh air in this wonderful new interview.

“Two Arabs on ice, a glove shared and their personal stories. Not your usual love story, here is an all-male version of Romeo and Juliet in which the Arab lovers find themselves threatened by society and worst of all by family prejudice and homophobia that culminates in a catastrophic climactic scene. The Lebanese Dishwasher is poetically charged, dramatically presented with engaging dialogue and employs a plot having almost fairy tale symmetry. Saikaley reveals herself as a writer with much to offer the reader, both in her knowledge of the rich culture of the Middle East and in the insight she brings to the gay character of Amir.”
–Gillian Harding-Russell, author of I forgot to tell you (Thistledown, 2007)

“Sonia Saikaley’s The Lebanese Dishwasher is a sensitive, compelling, evocative novella about same sex desire told with delicate eroticism and intertwined with personal and cultural humiliation and childhood sexual abuse. With a gifted eye for detail, cultural vernacular and idiom — Saikaley’s characters struggle to navigate their sexuality and their new lives in Canada amid obstacles of old world prejudice and concepts of family honour. A uniquely Canadian story told by one of Canada’s exceptional new writers.”
–Mark McCawley, Urban Graffiti

“Sonia Saikaley boldly explores themes of personal and political violence in her beautifully written and fast-paced first novella, The Lebanese Dishwasher. This is a love story —and an author— you won’t forget.”
–Anar Ali, author of Baby Khaki’s Wings

The Globe and Mail
The Maple Tree Literary Supplement
Black Bile Press
Time Out Beirut
rob mclennan
Capital Literary Review
Centretown News
Ottawa Magazine, the Artful Blogger
The Coastal Spectator