The Guide and
I into that hidden road
Now entered, to return to the bright world;
And without care of having any rest.
We mounted up, he first and I the second,
Till I beheld through a round aperture
Some of the beauteous things that Heaven doth bear;
Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.
Mengestu explains his
choice of title as follows: "The
beautiful things are not named or
described, and won't be until Dante
finally reaches heaven. And yet of
course he can see a hint of what that
beauty is. He knows it's there even if
he has not attained it. Joseph, one of
the novel's central characters, latches
on to that idea of a visible but not yet
attained heaven as a metaphor for his
understanding of Africa."
This article was originally published in March 2007, and has been updated for the
February 2008 paperback release.
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