Kathryn Lewis on Dinaw Mengestu's The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
by Dinaw Mengestu
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"What was it my father used to say?" Sepha Stephanos asks. "A bird stuck between two branches gets bitten on two wings. I would like to add my own saying to the list now, Father: a man stuck between two worlds lives and dies alone. I have dangled and been suspended long enough." Sepha, the narrator and unlikely hero of Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, has endured seventeen years of exile by the time he arrives at this revelation. After two decades lived between worlds, the hope and optimism that Sepha brought to America have been all but extinguished, quashed by a cruel series of setbacks.
Having left Ethiopia for the United States, not to chase the American dream but to flee the terror that engulfed his native land in the mid-1970s, Sepha moves into his uncle's
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