How to Read the Air

By Dinaw Mengestu
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780099521037)

Publication Date: January 2012

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the October 2010 Indie Next List
“This is a remarkable, multi-layered novel about the fictions we create and the lies we tell to fashion our identities for the sake of love and family. Mengestu's prose is beautiful. He tells both a grand-sweeping tale of the African immigrant experience as well as a deeply intimate story, one that illustrates a second-generation American's experience negotiating his footing as he seeks a sense of place.”
-- Cindy Dach, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ


Description
Following the death of his father Yosef, Jonas Woldemariam feels compelled to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, he sets out to retrace his mother and father's honeymoon as young Ethiopian immigrants.



NPR
Tuesday, Nov 2, 2010

Dinaw Mengestu's How to Read the Air is an unsentimental meditation on the immigrant experience and the illusory idea of asylum. With lyrical prose, he reassesses the by-your-bootstraps mythology associated with American mobility. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Saturday, Oct 16, 2010

Dinaw Mengestu follows up The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears with a new novel: How to Read the Air. As his own marriage unravels in New York, Jonas -- the son of two Ethiopian immigrants -- retraces the journey of his parents' lives. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Should Mariam and Yosef have stayed married to each other? Can a relationship survive a long separation?  

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