BookBrowse Reviews The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

A Novel

By Dinaw Mengestu

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2007,
    240 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2008,
    240 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

A deeply affecting and unforgettable debut novel about what it means to lose a family and a country, and what it takes to create a new home

A pervading sense of low-level despair, so long present that it has become his accepted state, pervades the voice of Sepha Stephanos, the narrator of Mengestu's first novel. For most of the 17-years Sepha has been in the USA he has run a convenience store in the Logan Circle area of Washington DC, at first with enthusiasm that this would be his first step towards achieving the immigrant dream, but in recent years with an increasing sense of despondency and hopelessness.

In the early 90s a degree of hope enters his life when the run-down building next to his rented rooms is bought by a white woman who quickly renovates it to its former glory, in the process rubbing salt in the wounds of the long time residents of the neighborhood who bitterly resent the gentrification process that is causing many to be ...

Dinaw Mengestu (pronounced dih-now men-guess-too) 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 the communist revolution in Ethiopia two years before. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and of Columbia University's MFA program in fiction, and is the recipient of a 2006 fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears is his first novel. He has also reported stories for Harper's and Jane magazine, profiling a young woman who was kidnapped and forced to become a soldier in the brutal war in Uganda; and for Rolling Stone on the tragedy in Darfur.

In high school, Mengestu started trying to figure out who he was. "I wanted an identity so badly," ...

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and backstories are a members-only benefit. Full information is available on books for a limited time when they are featured as "Editor's Choices" - but that time has now elapsed for this book.

Join Today


Member Login


Library Patrons
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.