AdultFiction Teton County Library's Reviews > The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu
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Mar 26, 14

it was amazing
Read in March, 2014

TCL Call #: F MENGESTU

Julia's rating: 5 stars
I finished this novel just over two weeks ago, and Sepha, the narrator, his quiet voice has been haunting me. The arch of the storyline involves a neighborhood in D.C., its changing face, and the lives of a handful of craftfully, sharply drawn characters, including a young girl, her mother and a couple of loyal, funny friends. The novel is not action packed yet somehow it's gripping. And while the reader moves mostly in the present, Mengestu is able to play with the timeline just enough to foreshadow events and to keep his reader wholly engaged in the story. Sepha slowly reveals his history to the reader, and it's heartbreaking. As I read the last third of this novel, I found myself silently shedding tears. This unassuming novel has so much to say about identity, belonging, enduring, memory, and the inevitability of change. Mengestu's story is one of the most beautiful novels I've read in a very long time.

Teton Co Library Call No: F MENGESTU

Marisa's rating: 4 stars
The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears cover describes it as an “African” novel. Honestly, it is an American novel. There is nothing more American than immigration. The book tells the story of Sepha Stephanos, an Ethiopian immigrant who escaped from the “red terror” of his own country to run a convenience store in Washington D.C.’s Logan Circle. Sepha’s social circle involves two fellow immigrants from other African countries and his new wealthy and white next door neighbor, Judith. The book takes on the realistic life of an American immigrant (a far cry from the “American Dream”) and the issues of gentrification in Sepha’s neighborhood. (March 2011)
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