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The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears | [Dinaw Mengestu]

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu is a skilled observer of people who offers a colorful debut work of fiction. Insightful and swiftly paced, this novel evokes past and present in the course of its compelling narrative. It's the `70s, and one D.C. neighborhood is undergoing big changes. In the mix is Ethiopian grocery owner Sepha Stephanos - a man with a complex past who fled his homeland after seeing his father brutalized by themilitary. He hopes for new prospects in D.C.'s gentrification process.
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Publisher's Summary

Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu is a skilled observer of people who offers a colorful debut work of fiction. Insightful and swiftly paced, this novel evokes past and present in the course of its compelling narrative. It's the `70s, and one D.C. neighborhood is undergoing big changes. In the mix is Ethiopian grocery owner Sepha Stephanos - a man with a complex past who fled his homeland after seeing his father brutalized by themilitary. He hopes for new prospects in D.C.'s gentrification process, but his store is struggling. Next door to his apartment building lives Judith, a successful white woman working to renovate her house. As Sepha bonds with Judith and her biracial, 11-year-old daughter Naomi, he is inevitably subject to the mounting pressures of race and class that are in flux around them.

©2007 Dinaw Mengestu; (P)2008 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

Mengestu has told a rich and lyrical story of displacement and loneliness. I was profoundly moved by this tale of Ethiopian immigrant's search for acceptance, peace, and identity. (Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns)

This is not a story for only an immigrant audience. The author, Dinaw Mengestu, writes in a way that makes this a universal story. In doing so, he does what the best writers accomplish. (The Oregonian)

[W]onderfully written and moving. (Esquire)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (37 )
5 star
 (9)
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2 star
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4.0 (28 )
5 star
 (7)
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Story
4.4 (28 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
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1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    Lisbeth Louisville, KY, United States 11-22-11
    Lisbeth Louisville, KY, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2011

    Ce n'est pas grave!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    36
    25
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    "Great book, wonderful reader"

    This is a wonderful, heartrending book book about an African immigrant trying to survive in the United States. He owns a shabby little convenience store in a rough (though gentrifying) section of Washington D.C. and lives with tragic memories and lonliness. The author writes with insight and eloquence. The story was enhanced by the excellent narration, which contributed greatly to my enjoyment.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-10-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    16
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Story
    "Compelling story, excellent narrator"

    Well-told story of an Ethiopian immigrant who runs a corner grocery store in Washington, DC. The characters come to life in Dion Graham's narration. Especially good is his African accents as well as the various American characters. High recommend it as an engaging story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karin Annapolis, MD, United States 07-09-13
    Karin Annapolis, MD, United States 07-09-13

    jorgsalot

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Story
    "Enchanting!"

    Beautiful story about an Ethiopian man who immigrated to America in the seventies and owns shabby grocery store in Logan Circle. Covers the immigrant experience, love and gentrification. I really enjoyed every word.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    private 12-09-12
    private 12-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    74
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Story
    "Beautiful, wonderful"

    This is a fascinating and beautiful book. Dion Graham reads it well, though sometimes he feels a bit off. But the story is so wonderful and so absorbing that nothing else seems to matter.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda S. Black 10-30-12

    rhonda

    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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    169
    2
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    "Fantastic Narrator"
    What did you like best about The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears? What did you like least?

    The narrator was incredible. The voices of different characters were clearly distinguishable. He did a great job with the reading.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    It was a bit anti-climactic.


    Was The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears worth the listening time?

    Yes!!!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Enid Huntington, VT, United States 01-30-12
    Enid Huntington, VT, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Life unfulfilled"
    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    the book drags on from one disappointment to the next. Good news is never realized, the main character just constantly struggles in a depressing story of an immigrant's life trying to realize a better life in the US.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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