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.
“Homosexuality is still very much taboo in the Lebanese-Canadian community,” says Saikaley “I think that most gay Lebanese men who come to Canada don’t actually come out of the closet. Of course, there are a few who do, but in my own Lebanese community, I don’t know any men who are openly gay.”
Sonia Saikaley found the solitude to write when teaching English in Japan and she now hones her craft in Ottawa, surrounded by her large Lebanese family. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Still Point Arts Quarterly, Things Japanese: A Collection of Short Stories, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, and the anthology Lavandería - A Mixed Load of Women, Wash, and Word. She is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. The Lebanese Dishwasher is her first novella and co-winner of the 2012 Ken Klonsky novella contest