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The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
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Published:
Penguin Publishing Group 2007
Status:
Checked Out
Description
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.
Watch a QuickTime interview with Dinaw Mengestu about this book.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/01/2007
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781429529778, 9781101217566
ASIN:
B000SEHEMA
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Dinaw Mengestu. (2007). The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Dinaw Mengestu. 2007. The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. Penguin Publishing Group, 2007.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Dinaw Mengestu. The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. Penguin Publishing Group, 2007.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:55:45
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 16:55:45
Last Metadata Check:
May 26, 2024 09:00:19
Last Metadata Change:
Oct 09, 2023 18:06:29
Last Availability Check:
May 26, 2024 09:00:24
Last Availability Change:
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Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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      • name: Dinaw Mengestu
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title
The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
fullDescription
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.
Watch a QuickTime interview with Dinaw Mengestu about this book.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from November 20, 2006
        Barely suppressed despair and black wit infuse this beautifully observed debut from Ethiopian émigré Mengestu. Set over eight months in a gentrifying Washington, D.C., neighborhood in the 1970s, it captures an uptick in Ethiopian grocery store owner Sepha Stephanos's long-deferred hopes, as Judith, a white academic, fixes up the four-story house next to his apartment building, treats him to dinner and lets him steal a kiss. Just as unexpected is Sepha's friendship with Judith's biracial 11-year-old daughter, Naomi (one of the book's most vivid characters), over a copy of The Brothers Karamazov
        . Mengestu adds chiaroscuro with the story of Stephanos's 17-year exile from his family and country following his father's murder by revolutionary soldiers. After long days in the dusty, barely profitable shop, Sepha's two friends, Joseph from Congo and Kenneth from Kenya, joke with Sepha about African dictators and gently mock his romantic aspirations, while the neighborhood's loaded racial politics hang over Sepha and Judith's burgeoning relationship like a sword of Damocles. The novel's dirge-like tone may put off readers looking for the next Kite Runner
        , but Mengestu's assured prose and haunting set pieces (especially a series of letters from Stephanos's uncle to Jimmy Carter, pleading that he respect "the deep friendship between our two countries") are heart-rending and indelible.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2006
        Sometimes the American Dream isn't all one imagines it to be. Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution as a teenager, having seen his father beaten and removed from the family home. Now, nearly two decades later, he owns the local grocery in a changing Washington, DC, neighborhood. Evenings are spend with his first friends in America, also African immigrants, who quiz one another on African revolutionary trivia. His poor African American neighbors have always kept his store afloat, but now he sees a chance for riches as successful professionals begin buying up the decrepit buildings in the neighborhood and returning them to their earlier splendor. When he befriends his new neighbors, a white professor and her biracial daughter, Sepha begins to realize how much he has missed any connection with family. But the neighborhoods revitalization doesn't help its original inhabitantsrents are rising, old timers are being evicted so that their buildings can be rehabbed, and Sepha is now in danger of losing his store. It's a poignant story providing food for thought for those concerned with poverty and immigration. First novelist Mengestu moved to American with his family as a toddler, fleeing the Ethiopian Revolution. Recommended for public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 11/1/06.]Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. Lib.

        Copyright 2006 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 1, 2006
        In his run-down store in a gentrifying neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Ethiopian immigrant Stepha Stephanos regularly meets with fellow African immigrants Ken the Kenyan and Joe from the Congo. Their favorite game is matching African nations to coups and dictators, as they consider how their new immigrant expectations measure up to the reality of life in America after 17 years. From his store and nearby apartment, Stephanos makes keen observations of American race and class tensions, seeing similarities--physical and social--to his hometown of Addis Ababa, where his father was killed in the throes of revolution. When Judith, a white woman, and Naomi, her mixed-race daughter, move into the neighborhood, Stephanos finds tentative prospects for friendship beyond his African compatriots. Mengestu, himself an Ethiopian immigrant, engages the reader in a deftly drawn portrait of dreams in the face of harsh realities from the perspective of immigrants.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2006, American Library Association.)

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Watch a QuickTime interview with Dinaw Mengestu about this book.
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