How to Read the Air (Paperback)
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October 2010 Indie Next List
“This is a remarkable, multi-layered novel about the fictions we create and the lies we tell to fashion our identities for the sake of love and family. Mengestu's prose is beautiful. He tells both a grand-sweeping tale of the African immigrant experience as well as a deeply intimate story, one that illustrates a second-generation American's experience negotiating his footing as he seeks a sense of place.”
— Cindy Dach, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
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.
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.