Jesse's Reviews > Unfortunate Marriage of Azeb Yitades

Unfortunate Marriage of Azeb Yitades by Nega Mezlekia
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's review
Mar 21, 2008

really liked it
Read in March, 2009

Not long into my reading of this book I stopped, put it aside and did not come back to it for a long time. I started it not long after I had read 100 Years of Solitude and the theme of a small town, untouched by technology and colonization and rooted in superstition and religion was too similar to the book that I enjoyed that I almost resented it. Having loved Solitude I wasn't ready to see a carbon-copy of it.

The second reason I put it down was the because of the treatment of the character Azeb. I wasn't sure how much heartbreak I was willing to endure in reading it.

Thankfully, The Unfortunate Marriage Of Azeb Yitadesbreaks free of the gift of sublety in his characters emotions and motivations.

As a University professor, author Mezlekia does tend to be didactic in his telling of this story. Taking many pauses in the flow and action of the text to exmplain the historical significance of a ritual or event. For the most part, this works very well. The audience of this book likely does not know about the history of Ethiopian small towns. By the end however, the plot is completely buried in explanations of the Ethopian legal system and the allusions to an unhappy future for most of the characters involved within it. Azeb herself becomes less likeable, with the unravelling of her life based on her wish to gasp "Mother Mary" in loving rapture. And abruptly it is all over, Oona is an old woman in America and the political climate in Ethopia is completely changed. I applaud Mezlekia's ability to focus on the period before complete change and unrest but the summary of the event which follow are such an afterthought that afterthe trial at the end of the book, I was not moved by any of the characters.

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