BookBrowse Reviews Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

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Beneath the Lion's Gaze

A Novel

by Maaza Mengiste

Beneath the Lion's Gaze
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2010, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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A debut novel set in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the cusp of revolution

Beneath the Lion's Gaze is the outstanding debut novel of an unquestionably gifted writer. Maaza Mengiste's style is absolutely beautiful; she flawlessly combines flowing description and contemplative characters with an action-oriented plot. Often "poetic writing" is synonymous with "slow reading," but this novel is engrossing from start to finish. Mengiste has the remarkable ability to pull her readers into profound emotional depths with just a few eloquent sentences.

Hailu stared at the long shadows in the living room he once shared with [his wife] Selam. How many nights, how many of these moons did I watch shrink back into sunlight, then dusk with that woman by my side? It is 1974 and I am afraid without you, he admitted for the first time. Nothing I have ever learned has prepared me for the days ahead if you leave me now.

Another notable aspect of Mengiste's ...

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