Mengestu, Dinaw How to Read the Air

ISBN 13: 9781594485398

How to Read the Air

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9781594485398: How to Read the Air
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A "beautifully written"* (New York Times Book Review) novel of redemption by a prize-winning international literary star.

From the acclaimed author of The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears comes a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination.

Following the death of his father Yosef, Jonas Woldemariam feels compelled to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, he sets out to retrace his mother and father's honeymoon as young Ethiopian immigrants and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn country of his parents' youth to a brighter vision of his life in America today. In so doing, he crafts a story- real or invented-that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Early on in How to Read the Air--the second novel from the author of the widely acclaimed debut, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears--Jonas Woldemariam and his soon-to-be wife Angela attend a party, where they tell casual, false stories about Angela's absent father and arrive, all of a sudden, at the fulcrum of this elegant and unusual novel. "To them," Angela notes, "it's all just one story told over and over. Change the dates and the names but it's the same." It's a theme that Dinaw Mengestu revisits as he selects the chapters from many different stories that converge in Jonas. Chief among them is Yosef and Mariam's story: they are Jonas's Ethiopian parents, estranged from each other in a violent, loveless marriage, each striving more for America's security than for its dreams. Mengestu takes common ideals of how we're supposed to live--ranging from the importance of material progress to the popular notion that there's nothing more American than road trips and country music--and investigates them quite beautifully in characters who are genuine and visionary and do, as Jonas notes, "persist, whether we care to or not, with all our flaws and glory." --Anne Bartholomew

About the Author:

Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and was named a “20 under 40” writer to watch by The New Yorker. Mengestu’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Harper’s, Granta, and other publications. He lives with his family in Washington, D.C.

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ISBN 10: 1594487707 ISBN 13: 9781594487705
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