All Our Names

By Dinaw Mengestu
(Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780385349987, 255pp.)

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

List Price: $25.95*
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Description

From acclaimed author Dinaw Mengestu, a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 award, The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 award, and a 2012 MacArthur Foundation genius grant, comes an unforgettable love story about a searing affair between an American woman and an African man in 1970s America and an unflinching novel about the fragmentation of lives that straddle countries and histories. 

All Our Names is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart—one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force, and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into small-town life. Yet this idyll is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the beloved friend he left behind, the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom.
 
Elegiac, blazing with insights about the physical and emotional geographies that circumscribe our lives, All Our Names is a marvel of vision and tonal command. Writing within the grand tradition of Naipul, Greene, and Achebe, Mengestu gives us a political novel that is also a transfixing portrait of love and grace, of self-determination and the names we are given and the names we earn. 




About the Author
Dinaw Mengestu is the author of "The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears", a "Los Angeles Times" bestseller and Seattle Reads pick of 2008, as well as the forthcoming novel "How To Read the Air". He was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. In 1980, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and sister, joining his father, who had fled Ethiopia during the Red Terror. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University s MFA program in fiction and the recipient of a 2006 fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a 5 Under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation in 2007. He has written for "Rolling Stone" and "Harper's", among other publications. He now lives in Washington, D.C.


NPR
Thursday, Apr 3, 2014

Meg Wolitzer says All Our Names, told in the alternating voices of two lovers, is a subtle masterpiece. It tackles huge themes â?? relationships, violence, identity, racism â?? but never overreaches. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Saturday, Mar 8, 2014

Dinaw Mengestu is known for writing about the immigrant experience, but his latest novel takes a slightly different tack: It's about love born out of loneliness and need, and complicated by war. More at NPR.org

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