The BookBrowse Review

Published June 22, 2022

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

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Publishing Soon

Literary Fiction


Historical Fiction


Short Stories


Essays


Mysteries


Thrillers


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Biography/Memoir


History, Current Affairs and Religion


Science, Health and the Environment


Travel & Adventure


Young Adults

Literary Fiction

  • Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (rated 4/5)

Thrillers


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Extras
  • Blog:
    6 Novels for Book Clubs That Reflect on Reproductive Rights
  • Wordplay:
    T O Thing W H T F I F I
  • Book Giveaway:
    Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing
Book Jacket

A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times
Stories
by Meron Hadero
28 Jun 2022
224 pages
Publisher: Restless Books
Genre: Short Stories
Critics:
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Winner of the 2020 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and the 2021 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, Ethiopian American author Meron Hadero's gorgeously wrought stories in A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times offer poignant, compelling narratives of those whose lives have been marked by border crossings and the risk of displacement.

Set across the U.S. and abroad, Meron Hadero's stories feature immigrants, refugees, and those on the brink of dispossession, all struggling to begin again, all fighting to belong. Moving through diverse geographies and styles, this captivating collection follows characters on the journey toward home, which they dream of, create and redefine, lose and find and make their own. Beyond migration, these stories examine themes of race, gender, class, friendship and betrayal, the despair of loss and the enduring resilience of hope.

Winner of the 2021 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, "The Street Sweep" is about an enterprising young man on the verge of losing his home in Addis Ababa who pursues an improbable opportunity to turn his life around. Appearing in Best American Short Stories, "The Suitcase" follows a woman visiting her country of origin for the first time and finds that an ordinary object opens up an unexpected, complex bridge between worlds. Shortlisted for the 2019 Caine Prize, "The Wall" portrays the intergenerational friendship between two refugees living in Iowa who have connections to Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. A Best American Short Stories notable, "Mekonnen aka Mack aka Huey Freakin' Newton" is a coming-of-age tale about an Ethiopian immigrant in Brooklyn encountering nuances of race in his new country.

Kaleidoscopic, powerful, and illuminative, the stories in A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times expand our understanding of the essential and universal need for connection and the vital refuge of home―and announce a major new talent in Meron Hadero.

"In her debut story collection, Addis Ababa–born Hadero addresses Ethiopian Americans' struggles for acceptance, the painful ties between present and past, and the elusive meaning of home...A full range of stylistic approaches is on display...Entertaining and affecting stories with a deft lightness of touch." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In this impressive debut collection, award-winning Ethiopian American writer Hadero showcases the lives of displaced people trying to create a space for themselves to call home in America and Ethiopia…Hadero's powerful stories usher characters along their searches for belonging, often with nothing but hope and a sense of community pushing them forward." - Booklist (starred review)

"Hadero's characters face challenges including racism, crushing misunderstandings, and visits home that remind them of how much they no longer belong, if they ever did...A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times is a heartfelt collection about the highs, lows, and ordinary days of Ethiopian life." - Foreword Reviews (starred review)

"Ethiopian-American writer Hadero delivers in her illuminating debut collection a series of nuanced perspectives on immigration...Hadero achingly shows how her characters attempt to communicate their regrets, sorrows, and dreams. This assured debut is well worth a look." - Publishers Weekly

"Witty and wistful, complex and heartbreaking, these stories capture lives caught between cultures and continents, past and present, truth and lies. As its displaced characters seek belonging, this collection explores the challenges of connection with empathy and nuance. A thrilling debut." - Brit Bennett, bestselling author of The Vanishing Half and The Mothers

"This book heralds the arrival of a gifted, stunning writer. A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times held me spellbound, riveted to the compelling characters that walk through these pages, all of them guided by Meron's revelatory and generous examinations of belonging and displacement. These stories unfold with an intensifying power, each of them a testament to what's possible when we move through this world insisting on the potential of hope, and love." - Maaza Mengiste, author of Booker Prize finalist The Shadow King

Meron Hadero is an Ethiopian American who was born in Addis Ababa and came to the U.S. via Germany as a young child. Meron's short stories have won the 2021 Caine Prize for African Writing, shortlisted for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing, and appear in Best American Short Stories, Ploughshares, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Zyzzyva, the Iowa Review, Missouri Review, 40 Short Stories: A Portable Anthology, and others. She's also been published in the New York Times Book Review, the anthology The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives, and will appear in the forthcoming anthology Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us.

A 2019-2020 Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University, and a fellow at Yaddo, Ragdale, and MacDowell, Meron holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, a JD from Yale Law School (Washington State Bar), and a BA in history from Princeton with a certificate in American studies.

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