MLA Gold Award Site

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:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2007, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2008, 240 pages

  • 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
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Saving Montgomery Sole
    Saving Montgomery Sole
    by Mariko Tamaki
    Understanding identity is one the most important parts of adolescence. For some teenagers, those who...
  • Book Jacket: All Tomorrow's Parties
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Never-Open Desert Diner
    The Never-Open Desert Diner
    by James Anderson
    James Anderson's debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner, starts off as an entertaining ...
Win this book!
Win The 100 Year Miracle

50 Copies to Give Away!

The 100 Year Miracle is a rich, enthralling novel, full of great characters.

Enter

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Spinster
by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Alaskan Laundry
    by Brendan Jones

    A fresh debut novel about a young woman who moves to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
    by Phaedra Patrick

    In a poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I A Sign O T T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.