Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood

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Macmillan, Jan 5, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages

Winner of the Governor General's Award
A Library Journal Best Book of 2001

Part autobiography and part social history, Notes from the Hyena's Belly offers an unforgettable portrait of Ethiopia, and of Africa, during the 1970s and '80s, an era of civil war, widespread famine, and mass execution. "We children lived like the donkey," Mezlekia remembers, "careful not to wander off the beaten trail and end up in the hyena's belly." His memoir sheds light not only on the violence and disorder that beset his native country, but on the rich spiritual and cultural life of Ethiopia itself. Throughout, he portrays the careful divisions in dress, language, and culture between the Muslims and Christians of the Ethiopian landscape. Mezlekia also explores the struggle between western European interests and communist influences that caused the collapse of Ethiopia's social and political structure—and that forced him, at age 18, to join a guerrilla army. Through droughts, floods, imprisonment, and killing sprees at the hands of military juntas, Mezlekia survived, eventually emigrating to Canada. In Notes from the Hyena's Belly he bears witness to a time and place that few Westerners have understood.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - theonearmedcrab - LibraryThing

“Notes from the Hyena’s Belly: Memories of my Ethiopian Boyhood” (translated in Dutch as “De Buik van de Hyena”) was written by Nega Mezlekia and published in 2000. The author was born in 1958, the ... Read full review

NOTES FROM THE HYENA'S BELLY: Memories of My Ethiopian Boyhood

User Review  - Kirkus

An affecting, transporting memoir of growing up fast during the grim years following the overthrow of Haile Selassie in Ethiopia."In 1958, the year of the paradox, I was born in Ethiopia, in a hot and ... Read full review

Contents

SAINTS AND SINNERS
3
THE LANGUAGE OF THE ANGELS
17
MEMORIES OF MEMERAES SHED
25
ALULAS MORALITY
43
CLOUDS
90
WINDOW ON HISTORY
193
THE POWER BROKERS
199
JIJIGA BESIEGED
211
THE EXODUS
217
RETIRING SAINTS
239
AN ALIEN ADBAR
271
SEVEN MONTHS OF DARKNESS
283
A MOURNFUL GHOST
303
AN ENFEEBLED SUN
309
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
353
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About the author (2002)

Nega Mezlekia is the author of Notes from the Hyena's Belly, winner of the Governor General's Award, and a novel, The God Who Begat a Jackal. He left Ethiopia in 1983 and is now an engineer living in Toronto.