Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu is a skilled observer of people who offers a colorful debut work of fiction. Insightful and swiftly paced, this novel evokes past and present in the course of its compelling narrative. It's the `70s, and one D.C. neighborhood is undergoing big changes. In the mix is Ethiopian grocery owner Sepha Stephanos - a man with a complex past who fled his homeland after seeing his father brutalized by themilitary. He hopes for new prospects in D.C.'s gentrification process, but his store is struggling. Next door to his apartment building lives Judith, a successful white woman working to renovate her house. As Sepha bonds with Judith and her biracial, 11-year-old daughter Naomi, he is inevitably subject to the mounting pressures of race and class that are in flux around them.More
Mengestu has told a rich and lyrical story of displacement and loneliness. I was profoundly moved by this tale of Ethiopian immigrant's search for acceptance, peace, and identity. (Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns)
This is not a story for only an immigrant audience. The author, Dinaw Mengestu, writes in a way that makes this a universal story. In doing so, he does what the best writers accomplish. (The Oregonian)
[W]onderfully written and moving. (Esquire)
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