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Beyond the Book: Background information when reading How to Read the Air

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How to Read the Air

by Dinaw Mengestu

How to Read the Air
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2010, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2011, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

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Beyond the Book

About the Author
Dinaw MengestuDinaw Mengestu 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. 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.

His first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007) brought him admiration and recognition: a glowing review in The New York Times, a Guardian First Book Award as well as inclusion in The National Book Foundation’s "5 under 35" list. The novel follows a character who, after his father is killed, makes his way to Washington, D.C. Mengestu drew on family history to imagine the past of his main character.

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