|Here is a new exciting book by an Ethiopian author, Dinaw Mengestu.
"Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution after witnessing soldiers beat his father to the point of certain death, selling off his parents' jewelry to pay for passage to the United States. Now he finds himself running a grocery store in a poor African-American neighborhood in Washington, D.C. His only companions are two fellow African immigrants who share his feelings of frustration with and bitter nostalgia for their home continent. He realizes that his life has turned out completely different and far more isolated from the one he had imagined for himself years ago. Soon Sepha's neighborhood begins to change. Hope comes in the form of new neighbors-Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter-who become his friends and remind him of what having a family is like for the first time in years. But when the neighborhood's newfound calm is disturbed by a series of racial incidents, Sepha may lose everything all over again. Told in a haunting and powerful first-person narration that casts the streets of Washington, D.C., and Addis Ababa through Sepha's eyes, "The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears" is a deeply affecting and unforgettable debut novel about what it means to lose a family and a country-and what it takes to create a new home."
This should be a good one and the reviews are promising. I'm planning to force my book club to do this book next by way of blackmailing - I do the reviews of each book and mainintain the blogsite so I should have a veto power of sorts....
I'm glad that recently books (at least those I read) are discussing how much people lose when they leave their homeland - whatever the reason may be, escaping brutal regimes, death, poverty or a combination of all of these. Such authors are exposing how overrated the comment "you're lucky that you left your country and you're here" is. People forget or they have no clue that immigrants trade whatever they are fleeing from at home with intense loneliness, a clush of values and cultures and the struggle to "fit in" often at a cost. The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and now this book address that misunderstood concept.
Labels: Book review, Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears