[]
[]

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

Mengestu, Dinaw

(Book - 2007)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
 Add a Comment  Add Tags
Print
Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution after witnessing soldiers beat his father to the point of certain death, selling off his parents' jewelry to pay for passage to the United States. Now he finds himself running a grocery store in a poor African-American neighborhood in Washington, D.C. His only companions are two fellow African immigrants who share his feelings of frustration with and bitter nostalgia for their home continent. He realizes that his life has turned out completely different and far more isolated from the one he had imagined for himself years ago. Soon Sepha's neighborhood begins to change. Hope comes in the form of new neighbors-Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter-who become his friends and remind him of what having a family is like for the first time in years. But when the neighborhood's newfound calm is disturbed by a series of racial incidents, Sepha may lose everything all over again. Told in a haunting and powerful first-person narration that casts the streets of Washington, D.C., and Addis Ababa through Sepha's eyes, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears is a deeply affecting and unforgettable debut novel about what it means to lose a family and a country-and what it takes to create a new home.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2007
ISBN: 9781594489402
1594489408
Branch Call Number: FICTION MENGESTU
Characteristics: 228 p. ;,22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Sepha, who fled the Ethiopian revolution and landed in the United States, has resigned himself to a life of isolation. Hope comes in the form of new neighbors-Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter-who become his friends and remind him of what having a family is like for the fi... Read More »

Sepha, who fled the Ethiopian revolution and landed in the United States, has resigned himself to a life of isolation. Hope comes in the form of new neighbors-Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter-who become his friends and remind him of what having a family is like for the fi... Read More »


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

Jun 11, 2013
  • ch1981 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Interesting because of my interest in the immgrant story, but overall lacked direction. I kept waiting for the exact plot to emerge.

Jun 26, 2011
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This fictional account of the African diaspora existence in the United States sparkled, from time to time, with an unusually vivid description, or an engaging sequence of dialogue. But the sparkles were few and far between.

The content is like a series of human interest clippings from the Washington Post newspaper that have been assembled on post-it notes into a manuscript. Two-thirds of the way through this tale of misery, the main character Sepha Stephanos asks himself: “Where is the grand narrative of my life? … It seems to have run out … It’s harder to admit that perhaps it had never been there at all.” (p. 147) The answer is that there is no plot in this book.

How could Stephanos frequently go drinking with his African friends and availing himself of the prostitutes in his neighbourhood when he operated his corner store so indifferently that his sales were insufficient to pay the rent and other bills? Is The Brothers Karamazov credible reading material for an eleven year old child? The five characters in this story have terrific potential … but the author has failed to develop them. It’s all rather pathetic.

Nov 12, 2010
  • foshee07 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book will break your heart. The writing is subtle and true.

Amazon.ca top 25 books of 2007.

Quotes

Add a Quote

Feb 10, 2011
  • ndp21f rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is how it happened in Zaire," Joseph said. "One day we heard that some people were beaten up by guys with guns. The next day we had a rebel group walking through the neighborhood saying they had come to liberate us from the government. To prove their point they shot five people in the street who were responsible for our oppression."

"You must have been grateful," I said.

"Of course we were. We didn't even know that we were oppressed. Imagine our surprise and joy to find out that we had been. We gave the rebels all the money we had to thank them. I remember one man was so happy he even gave them his wife and daughter.

Feb 10, 2011
  • ndp21f rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

For those thirty minutes I had it all, and perhaps if I had been a wiser man I would have been content with just that.

Feb 10, 2011
  • ndp21f rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I wanted to applaud Naomi for her foresight. Judith and I were both being conned, but neither of us particularly minded. To earn that kind of trust and affection from a child is to find out that you may have just been a better person than you believed all along.

Age

Add Age Suitability

Jun 26, 2011
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Liber_vermis thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Feb 10, 2011
  • imaginethat rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Videos

Add a Video

There are no videos for this title yet.

Find it at MCL

  Loading...

Powered by BiblioCommons.
app05 Version eventuell-fix Last updated 2014/11/26 13:11