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  • Hardcover
  • 308
  • Beneath the Lion's Gaze
  • Maaza Mengiste
  • English
  • 28 October 2019
  • 9780393071764

Maaza Mengiste ✓ 4 Download

Maaza Mengiste ✓ 4 Download Beneath the Lion's Gaze Download ´ 104 Nd country His father Hailu a prominent doctor has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state sanctioned torture to die And Dawit Hailu’s youngest son has joined an underground resistance movement a choice that will lead to upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia Beneath the Lion’s Gaze tells a gripping story. This book has a tone and the best word I have for it is sombre I felt Mengiste s Ethiopia to be grand dignified ancient steeped in its rich mythopoesis The graceful prose seems to move glacially from idea to idea image to image never becoming fevered or fragmenting as its subjects do The segments from the viewpoint of Haile Selassie seem entirely appropriate in this mood What I m saying might sound like distance the vertical perspective of a strategy game but the texture here is also intimate full of physicality and feeling If this book hadn t been so agonisingly difficult to read because of the graphic scenes of torture I would be giving it 5 starsEven before things start to go really horribly wrong as the revolution progresses life is pretty grim for expert surgeon Hailu whose wife is severely ill in hospital and whose younger son s involvement with student activism worries him or less constantly As if things needed to get worse the older son Yonas young daughter suddenly becomes critically ill too The girl s mother Sara distraught shuts out those around her and bargains with an apparently cruel and blood hungry god to save her daughter crawling around the church on broken glass creating a red ring that Mengiste uses as a cheesy filmic scene transition to the image of a cigarette perhaps to suggest the furnace of violence that will enclose the cityThis reminded me why I ve never got on with Christianity I refuse to be forced into an abusive relationship with this sadistic jerk My favourite character in the book Emama Seble a witchwise woman of sorts is indignant when she sees Sara s self inflicted injuries what god would want this I have no prior knowledge of either Ethiopian Orthodox or Coptic beliefs or practices but apart from the obsession with hair shirt style weird self sacrifice the role of religion in people s lives here is written attractively with thoughtful devotion both mutual and personal providing social glue and contemplative sanctuary in a way that reminded me of novels set in Muslim communities Emama Seble s place in the community shows that religion is not used against othersI have described Emama Seble as a witch but Mengiste does not do so She wears black long after the prescribed period of mourning for her husband lives alone and is known or rumoured to have many sexual partners Her healing techniues as far as we see are extremely simple and practical she uses relaxing aromatherapy and steam massage and a bit of psychology The community fears her and believes so strongly in her power they bring her the corpse of a child to resurrect but they do not attempt to persecute her Hailu s politically active younger son Dawit is perhaps the main narrative centre compellingly written and complex despite his taciturn temperament The young man s uncompromising idealism is written in the toughness of his face both Hailu and Yonas remember being fired with political fervour in their youths but they have become pragmatic and mellow Whether Dawit s native temperament is different or whether his hard fighting spirit is conditioned by the harsher times his mother Selam has always known he is the strongest His character develops significantly through the novel and he gains self knowledge as he witnesses and judges the behaviour of others but he retains some naivity to the end One of the most disturbing moments of the story is when Solomon a resistance fighter whom Dawit is following orders from hints that the group they belong to also uses torture Just as Dawit s personality is still maturing the book ends before the story it is tellingThere are interludes in Selam s consciousness as well as Selassie s Selam s interjections have a mystical uality mapping a poetic imaginary that counterpoints the increasingly unbearable hallucinatory horror of reality holding out the hope of escape or an end to the nightmare I would have loved background imaginary rooted in this land I will have to read books from the regionThe central family here belong to a relatively privileged class but most of the peripheral characters do not I was slightly confused that one of the housekeepers Sofia is so poor she sent her children out to work in the street instead of to school I thought this reflected pretty poorly on Hailu family but I guess it would be considered normal and safe if it weren t for the eruption of violence Nonetheless this handling of child solider recruitment seemed uncharacteristically clumsy to me One intriguing and enjoyable character is the kiosk owner Melaku who is a friend and former lover of Emama Seble Occasionally his worldly wisdom is conferred upon Dawit He asks didn t Marx enjoy himself which reminded me of the crucial uestion in The Name of the Rose of whether Christ laughed perhaps it is eually important I am currently reading Almanac of the Dead in which Native American resistance fighter Angelita La Escapia gives a life changingly brilliant lecture on Marx that I may have to copy out and blog by itself This new reading is causing me to get and food for thought out of Melaku s seemingly throwaway comment

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Beneath the Lion's Gaze

Maaza Mengiste ✓ 4 Download Beneath the Lion's Gaze Download ´ 104 An epic tale of a father and two sons of betrayals and loyalties of a family unraveling in the wake of Ethiopia’s revolution This memorable heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa Ethiopia 1974 on the eve of a revolution Yonas kneels in his mother’s prayer room pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family a. This novel is set in Ethiopia s capital city Addis Ababa in the late 1970 s It s the last days of Christian Emperor Haile Selassie who successfully led the fight against Mussolini s soldiers spears vs tanks Ethiopia today is still two thirds Christian Coptic and one third Moslem But now a military takeover has occurred and the communists are in power a group known as the Derg Cuba East Germany USSR and North Korea become their allies sending financial and military aid At first the military leaders put the emperor under house arrest and force him to sigh their decrees later they kill him 1974 People watch TV to see if their name is mentioned as one of those reuired to come in for uestioning Usually that means you will never be seen again This period became known as the Ethiopian Red Terror Perhaps as many as 750000 people were killed just in the years 1975 77 As backdrop to all the political goings on there is famine with vultures used for symbolism in the book profiteering from food aid corruption Before I get into the story I must say this the portrayal of violence graphic torture and sheer terror means you need a strong stomach to read this book I can only think of one other book I have read that is so graphic Yalo by Elias Khoury set in the civil war turmoil of Beirut In this environment no one is spared children old men and women and girls are tortured and killed The government charges a bullet fee for families to collect bodies of dead prisoners The story follows a fairly well off family They have cars and maids The father is a doctor and his wife is dying in a hospital as the book begins They have an older son and his wife who live with them as well as younger son The brothers are at opposite ends of the political spectrum The older one spends much of him time praying the younger practices his warrior dance in front of a mirror The college age younger son is causing panic in the family with his involvement in anti government activity At first this is surreptitiously handing out leaflets and newspapers By the end of the book he is a full fledged armed guerrilla As a doctor the father is well placed Many of the government ministers are his friends and he hears names announced on TV of people he knows He doesn t have to wait to hear his own name One day a young woman is brought in to the hospital under military guard She has been so brutally tortured that she is in a coma and near death While she makes some recovery at first he realizes that they want her back to torture her again He poisons her and he is in turn arrested and tortured to find out why he did this In another tragic scene a beautiful well dressed young woman arrives at the prison overnight case in hand knocking on doors to try to get in because she has been called in for uestioning The crowd milling about screams at her get out run don t go in but a door opens arms reach out to pull her in and she is never seen again The younger son eventually recruits his sister in law in the anti military effort They go out at night to collect mutilated bodies that the military have dumped in public places as a warning to others There is not a lot of plot the story follows the lives of this family and a few other people such as a street vendor and a childhood friend of the young son who joins the other side and becomes an army officer The military force the family to take in an informer who lives in their compound The daughter in law pays beggars to spread broken glass on the path around the church so that she can crawl on her knees to help her daughter get better from an illness One of the beggars joins her The book is translated from the Ethiopian One of the sections leads off with an old Ethiopian war song that says it allMother of the strong boy tighten the belt around your waistYour son is for the vultures onlyNot for burial by your relatives Image of Emperor Haile Selassie from animalia lifeclubPhotos of Derg leaders and the author from Wikipedia

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Maaza Mengiste ✓ 4 Download Beneath the Lion's Gaze Download ´ 104 Of family of the bonds of love and friendship set in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction It is a story about the lengths human beings will go in pursuit of freedom and the human price of a national revolution Emotionally gripping poetic and indelibly tragic Beneath The Lion’s Gaze is a transcendent and powerful debut. Beneath the Lion s Gaze begins in 1974 during the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie s despotic rule of Ethiopia Told through the fates of members of a well educated family it conveys the chaos contradictions and violence that beset the countryAs the story starts the people of Ethiopia are literally dying of starvation as an aged and aloof Emperor goes about business as usual Then seemingly overnight Emperor and officials are seized murdered or detained and a new struggle begins The new socialist military regime releases undisciplined uneducated and mostly untrained troops upon the civilian population resulting in looting stealing reassigning real estate false imprisonment violence against women and murder Merciless and paranoid the new government backed by the Soviet Union adds its death grip to the misery of this starving peopleMoving and enraging we follow Hailu a respected doctor in Addis Ababa try to save his family and his patients He has a surgeon s eye view of the injury leveled on civilians as he attempts to save them in the local hospital while also trying to reign in members of his family who are singled out or court trouble by their actionsA fascinating aspect of this slice of Ethiopian history is its description of the blending of Christianity and long held local beliefs Maaza Mengiste the author born in Addis Ababa has an insider s knowledge of the cultural underpinnings beneath this all too familiar story of ruthless abuse of political power disregard for the rule of law and contempt for the lives and aspiration of others unfortunately the universal hallmarks of violent government takeover I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in in learning about life in other parts of the world