Deena's Reviews > How to Read the Air

How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
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's review
Apr 02, 2011

really liked it
Read in April, 2011

"Say America enough times, try to picture it enough times, and you end up with a few skyscrapers stuck in the middle of a cornfield with thousands of cars driving around." -p.6

"Without ever thinking about it, I had become one of those men who increasingly spent more and more of their nights alone, neither distraught nor depressed, just simply estranged from the great social machinations with which others were occupied." -p.17

"There were vast swaths of both city and normal life that I had failed to notice, if only for the simple reason that none of it, as far as I had understood, concerned me and the quiet discreet life I had been living. I had always suspected that at some early point in my life, while still living with my parents and their daily battles, I had gone numb as a tactical strategy, perhaps exactly at that moment when we're supposed to be waking up to the world and stepping into our own." -p.58

"We persist and linger longer than we think, leaving traces of ourselves wherever we go. If you take that away, then we all simply vanish." -p.92

"More important, however, is the shared sense that you can get at the start and close of each season--the tumult and confusion that comes when the air holds the distinct memories of two different times at once... On those occasions, when the wind is warm and smells vaguely of a rain that has recently fallen or is about to do so, I've found it better to simply pull my car off the side of the road, or if I'm walking, to cease and temporarily forget wherever it is I'm going in order to submit to the confusion of time and memory carried in by the breeze." -p.116
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jane Anne Examples of excellent writing.

Deena Jane Anne wrote: "Examples of excellent writing."

He just won a MacArthur award! Good times.

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