Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood

Front Cover
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, Nega Mezlekia's 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.

 

Contents

SAINTS AND SINNERS
3
THE LANGUAGE OF THE ANGELS
17
ALULAS MORALITY
43
FEKADUS WORLD
89
THE DEVILTAMERS
101
THE EXORCISTS
117
A RELUCTANT GUERRILLA
163
WINDOW ON HISTORY
193
JIJIGA BESIEGED
207
A MOVING TALE
213
RETIRING SAINTS
239
AN ALIEN ADBAR
271
SEVEN MONTHS OF DARKNESS
283
A MOURNFUL GHOST
303
AN ENFEEBLED SUN
309
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
353

THE POWER BROKERS
199

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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.

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