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The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears [Paperback]

Our Price $ 13.60  
Retail Value $ 16.00  
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Item Number 392309  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   228
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.96" Width: 5.13" Height: 0.62"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 5, 2008
Publisher   Riverhead Trade
Age  18
ISBN  1594482853  
EAN  9781594482854  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Seventeen years after fleeing the Ethiopian revolution, Sepha Stephanos runs a grocery store in a poor African-American neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where he reflects on his past and the differences between his prospects and the life he imagined.

Publishers Description
A literary debut hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "a great American novel."

Awards Include:
Finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction
Winner of the Guardian First Book Prize
New York Times Notable Book
Winner of the National Book Foundation's A"5 Under 35A" Award
Recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship
Winner of the Prix du Premier Roman
Named the Seattle Reads Selection of 2008

Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution for a new start in the United States. Now he finds himself running a failing grocery store in a poor African-American section of Washington, D.C., his only companions two fellow African immigrants who share his bitter nostalgia and longing for his home continent. Years ago and worlds away Sepha could never have imagined a life of such isolation. As his environment begins to change, hope comes in the form of a friendship with new neighbors Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter. But when a series of racial incidents disturbs the community, Sepha may lose everything all over again.

Buy The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781594482854 & 1594482853

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More About Dinaw Mengestu

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and was named a 20 under 40 writer to watch by The New Yorker. Mengestu s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Harper s, Granta, and other publications. He lives with his family in Washington, D.C."

Dinaw Mengestu was born in 1978.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [78538  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary   [246863  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > United States   [1427  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
caveat emptor  Sep 2, 2008
Beware of ordering the bargain book copy of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears! The copy I received was missing pages 23-54.
Worthy Debut Novel About the Immigrant Experience  Jun 27, 2008
Mengestu's debut novel brings to life the American immigrant experience in a touching way. The novel is about an Ethiopian immigrant, Sepha, and his experiences in the Washington DC area over a seven month period in the 1970s. Mengestu captures the hopes and dreams, as well as the struggles and disappointment, of those coming to this country for a better life than in their native land.

Sepha owns a small neighborhood grocey story around Logan Circle, a community underground gentrification. We see his hopes for a more prosperous and successful business grow as work crews start renovating local buildings. Most notably, Sepha decides to start selling sandwiches and buys fresh deli meats and promotes this to what he hopes will be his new clientele.

The two dimensions of this book I found so rewarding are the interplay and relationships of the various characters with Sepha as well as the ups and downs of Sepha's experience representing the broader ebb and flow of immigrant experience.

Judith, a single white academic restores a four story brick neighborhood in the building and moves in with her wiser-than-her years 11 year old Naomi. The depth of Naomi's character was wonderful -- a somewhat sassy, precocious but sweet girl. We see Naomi take to Sepha and a deep bond created between the two of them -- Sepha becomes a father/older brother figure to her. Especially poignant was the joy and fun they had reading of the Brothers Karamazov together in the store.

At the same time Sepha begins to fall for Judith and we see the impact that race and language has on their relationship. Once again, the hope of a bright future gives way to the dim reality of the struggle most first generation immigrants face.

Mengestu ultimately crafts a very satisfying and enjoyable read. It brings smiles and laughter to the reader as well sadness and disappointment -- working both at the character level but at the broader level of immigrant experience. Mengestu is a young author that you'll want to keep your eye out for in the future.
A window into another life  Jun 27, 2008
Who can deny the difficulty of immigrants to the U.S., especially from third world countries and an African one at that? Some books shout out that message, and others whisper it. This is one that whispered. It chronicles the life of a young, fictional Ethiopian man, his difficulties with loss of home and culture, problems in integration into American culture, struggles and successes with relationships. We like the guy, empathize with his situation, but the book does not take us to another level. We want him to "win out," we like him a great deal, but find little to cheer him on for, as he seems lost in chaos in which he finds himself and is unable to find a way out.
Depressing  Jun 7, 2008
Stepha, Joseph and Kenneth are three immigrants in the Washington area after having fled their original countries - Ethiopia, Congo and Kenya.
I found the story depressing and anti-climatic. The crafting was confusing as well.Except for the parts with the neighbours Judith and her daughter Naomi, it was certainly not a thumb turner.
The story was very introspective and there were not many positives mentioned about the entire continent of Africa.
About Stepha picking up prostitutes...what was that about?

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears  May 19, 2008
I liked this book, particularly the relationships between the three immigrant characters. I thought their insights about life in America and about the wars and insurrections in Africa were revealing and poignant. The relationship between the central character and his neighbor didn't work so well for me -- it seemed strained -- and I'm not sure what I thought of the final incident that caused the neighbor to move, however, overall I liked the book's pace and quiet hopefulness.

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