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BookBrowse Reviews The History of a Difficult Child by Mihret Sibhat

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The History of a Difficult Child

A Novel

by Mihret Sibhat

The History of a Difficult Child by Mihret Sibhat X
The History of a Difficult Child by Mihret Sibhat
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  • Published:
    Jun 2023, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Chloe Pfeiffer
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A charming, confident child comes of age in a small Ethiopian town, in an environment of political upheaval, religious fervor, and ostracization.

Mihret Sibhat's debut novel, The History of a Difficult Child, takes place in a small, unnamed town in southwestern Ethiopia, in which everybody lives in a state of constant unease or fear. It's ten years after Ethiopia's socialist revolution, and any act, benign or not—leaving a flag tangled up, or listening to the radio for news about Ethiopia's famine and war against guerilla groups—might be deemed counterrevolutionary and reportable by one's peers to local government, leading to arrest or worse. The Asmelashes—a former landowning family who lost their compound and servants in the revolution but are far from destitute—are disliked and ostracized in the town. This is especially true for Degitu, the matriarch, who is simultaneously mythologized for being good at everything she tries, resented but admired for her toughness, and pitied for her mysterious, painful ...

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