How to Read the Air
From the prizewinning international literary star: the searing and powerful story of one man's search for redemption.
Dinaw Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned the young writer comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical praise and awards around the world for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience. Now Mengestu enriches the themes that defined his debut with a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination, which confirms his reputation as one of the brightest talents of his generation.
One early September afternoon, Yosef and Mariam, young Ethiopian immigrants who have spent all but their first year of marriage apart, set off on a road trip from their new home in Peoria, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of a new identity as an American couple. Soon, their son, Jonas, will be born in Illinois. Thirty years later, Yosef has died, and Jonas needs to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. How can he envision his future without knowing what has come before? Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas sets out to retrace his mother and father's trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to his life in the America of today, a story—real or invented—that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - aront - LibraryThing
Beautifully written yet unconvincing. We never deeply understand the motivations of the four main characters. Lot's of poetic writing but very little true emotion. The New Yorker short story extracted ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - brangwinn - LibraryThing
The story of Jonas, the son of Ethiopian immigrants to the Midwest, is told in several threads, his marriage, his relationship with his parents, and his parents life in the Midwest. Mengetsu’s approach to telling this story is original and interesting. Read full review