Synopses & Reviews
Advance praise for Beneath the Lion"s Gaze:
'With words that make 'a faint, tender bruise" on the page, and a compassionate imagination that transforms everything it touches on, Maaza Mengiste delivers an important story from a part of Africa too long silent in the World Republic of Letters."Chris Abani, author of GraceLandand The Virgin of Flames
"What a beautiful book! After a few chapters I felt I was a member of this family, a citizen of Ethiopia. Maaza Mengiste is talented and bold and fresh. Already, I'm looking forward to her next book."'"Uwe Akpan, author of Say You"re One of Them
"Literature from the margins is often too poorly lit for us to see, but Mengiste takes us through this dark political hunt with the night vision of a lion. A novel both tender and brutal, fearless, it is accomplished beyond a first book."Dagoberto Gilb, author of The Magic of Bloodand The Flowers
"Revolutionary Ethiopia in the seventies is the searing backdrop for Maaza Mengiste's incandescent debut . . . the acutely observed story of a family-a prominent doctor and his sons, one moderate, one mutinous--undone by war." Vogue
Revolutionary Ethiopia in the seventies is the searing backdrop for Maaza Mengiste's incandescent debut . . . the acutely observed story of a family-a prominent doctor and his sons, one moderate, one mutinous—undone by war.
"An extraordinary novel, which assembles a dauntingly broad cast of characters and, through them, tells stories that nobody can want to hear, in such a way that we cannot stop listening." Claire Messud
When John D'Agata helps his mother move to Las Vegas one summer, he begins to follow a story about the federal government's plan to store high-level nuclear waste at a place called Yucca Mountain, a desert range near the city of Las Vegas. Bearing witness to the parade of scientific, cultural, and political facts that give shape to Yucca's story, D'Agata keeps the six tenets of reporting in mind--Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How--arranging his own investigation around each vital question. Yet as the contradictions inherent in Yucca's story are revealed, D'Agata's investigation turns inevitably personal. He finds himself investigating the death of a teenager who jumps off the tower of the Stratosphere Hotel, a boy whom D'Agata believes he spoke with before his suicide. Here is the work of a penetrating thinker whose startling portrait of a mountain in the desert compels a reexamination of the future of human life.
This memorable, heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1974, on the eve of a revolution. Yonas kneels in his mother's prayer room, pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family and country. His father, Hailu, a prominent doctor, has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state-sanctioned torture to die. And Dawit, Hailu's youngest son, has joined an underground resistance movement--a choice that will lead to more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia. tells a gripping story of family, of the bonds of love and friendship set in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction. It is a story about the lengths human beings will go in pursuit of freedom and the human price of a national revolution. Emotionally gripping, poetic, and indelibly tragic, is a transcendent and powerful debut.
The real marvel of this tender novel is its coiled plotting, in which coincidence manages to evoke the colossal emotional toll of the revolution.Mengiste gracefully builds the story to a heart-pumping conclusion. . . . Even with its share of tragedy, this is an absorbing drama . . . enhanced by the author's spare, spectacular prose.
"An important novel, rich in compassion for its anguished characters."--
About the Author
Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was named "New Literary Idol" by New York magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.