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Excerpt from The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

A Novel

by Dinaw Mengestu

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2007, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2008, 240 pages

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Print Excerpt


“I can’t remember where the scar on my father’s face is. Sometimes I think it is here, on the left side of his face, just underneath his eye. But then I say to myself, that’s only because you were facing him, and so really, it was on the right side. But then I say no, that can’t be. Because when I was a boy I sat on his shoulders and he would let me rub my hand over it. And so I sit on top of a table and place my legs around a chair and lean over and I try to find where it would have been. Here. Or there. Here. Or there.”

As he speaks his hand skips from one side of his face to the other.

“He used to say, when I die you’ll know how to tell it’s me by this scar. That made no sense but when I was a boy I didn’t know that. I thought I needed that scar to know it was him. And now, if I saw him, I couldn’t tell him apart from any other old man.”

“Your father is already dead,” I tell him.

“And so is yours, Stephanos. Don’t you worry you’ll forget him someday?”

“No. I don’t. I still see him everywhere I go.”

“All of our fathers are dead,” Joseph adds.

“Exactly,” Kenneth says.

It’s the closest we’ve ever come to a resolution.

Excerpted from The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu © 2007 by Dinaw Mengestu. Excerpted by permission of Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Group. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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