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Maaza Mengiste Ê 4 review

Nd country His father Hailu a prominent doctor has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state sanctioned torture to die And Dawit Hailu’s youngest son has joined an underground resistance movement a choice that will lead to upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia Beneath the Lion’s Gaze tells a gripping story This book has a tone and the best word I have for it is sombre I felt Mengiste's Ethi Fedrekult fra norsk folkeliv i hedensk og kristen tid to report Facts of Life to jail after helping a victim of state sanctioned Passenger 13 (Ben Hope, torture Gansett Island Boxed Set Books 1- 10.5 to die And Dawit Hailu’s youngest son has joined an underground resistance movement a choice The Sunday Potluck Club (The Sunday Potluck Club, that will lead The Mission Primer to upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia Beneath Tao Te Ching: A New English Version the Lion’s Gaze Decorum tells a gripping story This book has a Zen Doodle Unleashed tone and Thick the best word I have for it is sombre I felt Mengiste's Ethi

Summary Beneath the Lion's Gaze

Beneath the Lion's Gaze

Of family of the bonds of love and friendship set in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction It is a story about the lengths human beings will go in pursuit of freedom and the human price of a national revolution Emotionally gripping poetic and indelibly tragic Beneath The Lion’s Gaze is a transcendent and powerful debut Beneath the Lion's Gaze begins in 1974 during the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie Daddy Rapes His Little Daughter During School 2 Story Bundle the bonds of love and friendship set in a Tetris time and place The Supreme Wisdom Lessons by Master Fard Muhammad (full color version) that has rarely been explored in fiction It is a story about Fedrekult fra norsk folkeliv i hedensk og kristen tid the lengths human beings will go in pursuit of freedom and Facts of Life the human price of a national revolution Emotionally gripping poetic and indelibly Passenger 13 (Ben Hope, tragic Beneath The Lion’s Gaze is a Gansett Island Boxed Set Books 1- 10.5 transcendent and powerful debut Beneath The Sunday Potluck Club (The Sunday Potluck Club, the Lion's Gaze begins in 1974 during The Mission Primer the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie

Read ☆ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Ê Maaza Mengiste

An epic tale of a father and two sons of betrayals and loyalties of a family unraveling in the wake of Ethiopia’s revolution This memorable heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa Ethiopia 1974 on the eve of a revolution Yonas kneels in his mother’s prayer room pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family a Let’s be real here – a lot of what we Westerners know of Ethiopia is based on tho


10 thoughts on “Beneath the Lion's Gaze

  1. says:

    This novel is set in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa in the late 1970’s It’s the last days of Christian Emperor Haile Selassie who successfully led the fight against Mussolini’s soldiers spears vs tanks Ethiopia today is still two thirds Christian Coptic and one third Moslem But now a military takeover has occurred and the communists are in power a group known as the Derg Cuba East Germany USSR and North Korea become their allies sending financial and military aid At first the military leaders put the emperor under house arrest and force him to sigh their decrees; later they kill him 1974 People watch TV to see if their name is mentioned as one of those reuired to “come in for uestioning” Usually that means you will never be seen again This period became known as the Ethiopian Red Terror Perhaps as many as 750000 people were killed just in the years 1975 77 As backdrop to all the political goings on there is famine with vultures used for symbolism in the book profiteering from food aid corruption Before I get into the story I must say this the portrayal of violence graphic torture and sheer terror means you need a strong stomach to read this book I can only think of one other book I have read that is so graphic Yalo by Elias Khoury set in the civil war turmoil of Beirut In this environment no one is spared children old men and women and girls are tortured and killed The government charges a “bullet fee” for families to collect bodies of dead prisoners The story follows a fairly well off family They have cars and maids The father is a doctor and his wife is dying in a hospital as the book begins They have an older son and his wife who live with them as well as younger son The brothers are at opposite ends of the political spectrum The older one spends much of him time praying; the younger practices his warrior dance in front of a mirror The college age younger son is causing panic in the family with his involvement in anti government activity At first this is surreptitiously handing out leaflets and newspapers By the end of the book he is a full fledged armed guerrilla As a doctor the father is well placed Many of the government ministers are his friends and he hears names announced on TV of people he knows He doesn’t have to wait to hear his own name One day a young woman is brought in to the hospital under military guard She has been so brutally tortured that she is in a coma and near death While she makes some recovery at first he realizes that they want her back to torture her again He poisons her and he is in turn arrested and tortured to find out why he did this In another tragic scene a beautiful well dressed young woman arrives at the prison overnight case in hand knocking on doors to try to get in because she has been called in for “uestioning” The crowd milling about screams at her “get out run don’t go in” but a door opens arms reach out to pull her in and she is never seen again The younger son eventually recruits his sister in law in the anti military effort They go out at night to collect mutilated bodies that the military have dumped in public places as a warning to others There is not a lot of plot; the story follows the lives of this family and a few other people such as a street vendor and a childhood friend of the young son who joins the other side and becomes an army officer The military force the family to take in an informer who lives in their compound The daughter in law pays beggars to spread broken glass on the path around the church so that she can crawl on her knees to help her daughter get better from an illness One of the beggars joins her The book is translated from the Ethiopian One of the sections leads off with an old Ethiopian war song that says it allMother of the strong boy tighten the belt around your waistYour son is for the vultures onlyNot for burial by your relatives Image of Emperor Haile Selassie from animalia lifeclubPhotos of Derg leaders and the author from Wikipedia


  2. says:

    Let’s be real here – a lot of what we Westerners know of Ethiopia is based on those late night aid commercials soliciting support for starving children with distended bellies and flies swarming their faces This is incredibly problematic Maaza Mengiste’s “Beneath The Lion’s Gaze” flies in the face of that monolithic stock image of the country and gives a richly drawn description of Ethiopian life before the 1974 revolution that many people know little or nothing aboutThis is the story of a family set against the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie and is easily one of most gripping books I’ve read in a very long time It looks baldly at the beauty of Ethiopian culture a strongly family community and faith centered way of life Ethiopian history Ethiopia proudly off Italian forces and was the only African nation not colonized by Europeans and the political machinations that tore at the fabric of that society Main characters include Hailu a medical doctor and the father and head of the household; Selam his ailing wife Yonas their eldest son Dawit the younger rebellious son and Sara Yonas’s wife There are a number of ancillary characters that weave in and out of the narrative to tell a story that is about family love war and convictionsFor me this novel renewed my interest in Ethiopian history As a black American I already had some idea of Ethiopia’s rich contribution to black history and knew of Haile Selassie’s importance to Rastafarianism but this book made me think about the ramifications of deifying political leaders black or otherwise The torturedeath scenes in the book were hard to bear because you realize how both fragile and resilient human life can be This book is definitely worth the read


  3. says:

    Ethiopia 1974 The country is on the cusp of a revolution that will overthrow the monarchy and see the Derg take power a communist military group The successive years saw hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians killed under the regime either from brutal torture and execution or famine from leaders who promised a better Ethiopia for everybodyI love it when authors of historical fiction create a fictional family to contextualise historic events Living the events through the eyes of a fictional family is the way to captivate me and then it usually inspires me to go away and read up on the time period which Mengiste achieved hereBeneath the Lion’s Gaze is focused around Hailu’s family a prominent doctor whose morals see him fall on the wrong side of the Derg while one his sons is fighting in the resistance and the rest of his family are just trying to survive under the new rulesThere are graphic scenes of torture and killing within these pages but it was never gratuitous How could it be when this was real life for Ethiopians during the revolution? Mutilated bodies left in the streets as warnings and children used as pawns in political games were the new norm and turning away wouldn’t make it go awayI can’t praise Mengiste’s writing enough the pacing was perfect with shorter chapters to break up the horror and a cacophony of narrative voices ensures a well rounded look at how the Derg’s rule affected all kinds of people It is bleak but there are also heartwarming instances of familial love and friendship that will remind you as Bezi beingabookwyrm says in her review please go check that out too that a country is not defined by the violence it has sufferedI’m so grateful to Bezi for her #ReadEthiopian challenge for introducing me to this book and I can’t wait to read The Shadow King


  4. says:

    This book has a tone and the best word I have for it is sombre I felt Mengiste's Ethiopia to be grand dignified ancient steeped in its rich mythopoesis The graceful prose seems to move glacially from idea to idea image to image never becoming fevered or fragmenting as its subjects do The segments from the viewpoint of Haile Selassie seem entirely appropriate in this mood What I'm saying might sound like distance the vertical perspective of a strategy game but the texture here is also intimate full of physicality and feeling If this book hadn't been so agonisingly difficult to read because of the graphic scenes of torture I would be giving it 5 starsEven before things start to go really horribly wrong as the revolution progresses life is pretty grim for expert surgeon Hailu whose wife is severely ill in hospital and whose younger son's involvement with student activism worries him or less constantly As if things needed to get worse the older son Yonas' young daughter suddenly becomes critically ill too The girl's mother Sara distraught shuts out those around her and bargains with an apparently cruel and blood hungry god to save her daughter crawling around the church on broken glass creating a red ring that Mengiste uses as a cheesy? filmic scene transition to the image of a cigarette perhaps to suggest the furnace of violence that will enclose the cityThis reminded me why I've never got on with Christianity – I refuse to be forced into an abusive relationship with this sadistic jerk My favourite character in the book Emama Seble a witchwise woman of sorts is indignant when she sees Sara's self inflicted injuries 'what god would want this?' I have no prior knowledge of either Ethiopian Orthodox or Coptic beliefs or practices but apart from the obsession with hair shirt style weird self sacrifice the role of religion in people's lives here is written attractively with thoughtful devotion both mutual and personal providing social glue and contemplative sanctuary in a way that reminded me of novels set in Muslim communities Emama Seble's place in the community shows that religion is not used against othersI have described Emama Seble as a witch but Mengiste does not do so She wears black long after the prescribed period of mourning for her husband lives alone and is known or rumoured to have many sexual partners Her healing techniues as far as we see are extremely simple and practical; she uses relaxing aromatherapy and steam massage and a bit of psychology The community fears her and believes so strongly in her power they bring her the corpse of a child to resurrect but they do not attempt to persecute her Hailu's politically active younger son Dawit is perhaps the main narrative centre compellingly written and complex despite his taciturn temperament The young man's uncompromising idealism is written in the toughness of his face; both Hailu and Yonas remember being fired with political fervour in their youths but they have become pragmatic and mellow Whether Dawit's native temperament is different or whether his hard fighting spirit is conditioned by the harsher times his mother Selam has always known he is the 'strongest' His character develops significantly through the novel and he gains self knowledge as he witnesses and judges the behaviour of others but he retains some naivity to the end One of the most disturbing moments of the story is when Solomon a resistance fighter whom Dawit is following orders from hints that the group they belong to also uses torture Just as Dawit's personality is still maturing the book ends before the story it is tellingThere are interludes in Selam's consciousness as well as Selassie's Selam's interjections have a mystical uality mapping a poetic imaginary that counterpoints the increasingly unbearable hallucinatory horror of reality holding out the hope of escape or an end to the nightmare I would have loved background imaginary rooted in this land; I will have to read books from the regionThe central family here belong to a relatively privileged class but most of the peripheral characters do not I was slightly confused that one of the housekeepers Sofia is so poor she sent her children out to work in the street instead of to school I thought this reflected pretty poorly on Hailu family but I guess it would be considered normal and 'safe' if it weren't for the eruption of violence Nonetheless this handling of child solider recruitment seemed uncharacteristically clumsy to me One intriguing and enjoyable character is the kiosk owner Melaku who is a friend and former lover of Emama Seble Occasionally his worldly wisdom is conferred upon Dawit He asks 'didn't Marx enjoy himself?' which reminded me of the crucial uestion in The Name of the Rose of whether Christ laughed – perhaps it is eually important I am currently reading Almanac of the Dead in which Native American resistance fighter Angelita La Escapia gives a life changingly brilliant lecture on Marx that I may have to copy out and blog by itself This new reading is causing me to get and food for thought out of Melaku's seemingly throwaway comment


  5. says:

    I had this book for a really long time but never got round to reading it Now that I'm done I'm kinda wondering why it took me so long The book is about the Ethiopian revolution as seen through the eyes of a fictional family in the time period The author goes to great lengths to get the reader to understand what each of the characters is going through before during and after the revolution I really felt like I was going through the struggle with the characters in the book and the decisions they made all seemed to make sense to meYou know how you read some books or watch some movies and thinkahh if that was me I definitely wouldn't have done thatwell this doesn't happen in this book Decisions just seem to make senseirrespective of whether they are good or evilwhich in my opinion is a good thingAll in all a pretty good book that you shouldn't read if your're feeling depressedits got some sad moments in thereI'm pretty sure some peeps cried while reading this bookMy rating a proper awesometacular


  6. says:

    Ethiopian Emperor Selassie's rule with all its flaws injustices and decadence was smashed into pieces by a fanatical new regime in the 1970s providing the setting for Maaza Mengiste's debut At the center of the story is a surgeon Hailu and his two sons Yonas a reflective realist and Dawit an impulsive idealist In ‘Beneath The Lion’s Gaze’ Mengiste gave us a story about a family and a nation at war with itselfThere’s lots to admire in Mengiste’s writing She manages to dance between both both plot and character driven narratives She captured the essence of the Ethiopian people their mannerism and their poetic language “When you are convinced that everything that happens is the will of God what is there to do but wait until God has mercy?” and the sensory descriptions of Addis were mesmerizing in all of its horror “Addis Ababa was buried in dark clouds of gun smoke Waves of arrests swept swiftly through the city Bullets fell like rain Blood flowed in currents Winds blew the rotten stench of the dead through deserted streets”And then there are the little gems that I find delightful as a reader The naming of most of the characters for instance was deliberate and significant They either had a biblical symbolism Dawit after King David who gained fame after killing the enemy Goliath or their Amharic translation captured some personality trait Hailu Amharic for ‘the power’ signifying his position as the patriarch of the family Its hard to miss the author’s choice of naming Emperor Selassie but giving a fictional name to the leader of the communist regime who was later accused of genocide by the Ethiopian court A little deep digging reveals that the name Guddu is a variation of ueen Gudit who went on monastery burning rampages in AD960 and like fictional Guddu ushered in Ethiopia’s dark agesThis is a dark and often violent book but it is on so many levels a love story The love of husband who can’t let go of his dying wife the love of a father yearning for his estranged son the love of a brother worlds apart in temperament And also the love for a people for a country for the fight of what is good and just


  7. says:

    I loved the characters and the setting was highly compelling But I needed plot I really really needed of a plot You've got to have something happen and that has to be shown as it's happening Too many time whenever there was movement in the plot it was shown as FLASHBACK 8 | No


  8. says:

    First the cover is not doing this book any favors I assumed it was a memoir probably of a child soldier or somethingEven once I realized this was a novel I didn’t have high expectations for it I was expecting another earnest but poorly written book published on the strength of covering awful events in a time and place most Americans know little about As it turns out I did like the book than expectedBeneath the Lion’s Gaze is set in 1970’s Ethiopia a time of enormous upheaval following a devastating famine and governmental inaction student protests led to a revolution overthrowing the hereditary monarch The revolution was uickly co opted by the military which claiming to set up a communist government ushered in a period of terror and repression This book covers about four years and mostly follows one extended family a father two adult sons daughter in law and granddaughter along with some of their friends and neighbors The married son just wants peace while the single one becomes a high profile dissident; meanwhile their father a doctor faces a terrible dilemma when the military demands that he treat a torture victimThe story is interesting and the short chapters move it along relatively uickly If you’ve read other books about life under oppressive regimes you know what to expect here there are some ugly scenes including violence against children But Mengiste balances the bloody parts with scenes dealing with family relations and everyday life; the book never feels like a simple news report It is however far from a light read; the characters' attempts to do good consistently make things worse and there's little hope in the inconclusive finishNeither the characterization nor the writing style is anything to write home about but even so I rather liked the book The author’s observations and imagery ring true and the plot kept my interest If the characters often seem like representatives of various opinions and experiences than actual people it’s still nice to have a range of them represented from dissidents to soldiers to collaborators Even the less sympathetic characters are believable and treated fairlyAs for the historical aspect the book certainly piued my interest in Ethiopia; I might have liked a in depth look at events but can’t complain with the book’s focusing primarily on the family There’s a decent sense of place with some good descriptions of the countryOverall this isn’t among the best civilians in wartime books I’ve read but nor is it among the worst A decent choice if you’re interested in Ethiopia African fiction generally or civilian life during revolutions and military dictatorships


  9. says:

    Beneath the Lion's Gaze begins in 1974 during the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie's despotic rule of Ethiopia Told through the fates of members of a well educated family it conveys the chaos contradictions and violence that beset the countryAs the story starts the people of Ethiopia are literally dying of starvation as an aged and aloof Emperor goes about business as usual Then seemingly overnight Emperor and officials are seized murdered or detained and a new struggle begins The new socialist military regime releases undisciplined uneducated and mostly untrained troops upon the civilian population resulting in looting stealing reassigning real estate false imprisonment violence against women and murder Merciless and paranoid the new government backed by the Soviet Union adds its death grip to the misery of this starving peopleMoving and enraging we follow Hailu a respected doctor in Addis Ababa try to save his family and his patients He has a surgeon's eye view of the injury leveled on civilians as he attempts to save them in the local hospital while also trying to reign in members of his family who are singled out or court trouble by their actionsA fascinating aspect of this slice of Ethiopian history is its description of the blending of Christianity and long held local beliefs Maaza Mengiste the author born in Addis Ababa has an insider's knowledge of the cultural underpinnings beneath this all too familiar story of ruthless abuse of political power disregard for the rule of law and contempt for the lives and aspiration of others; unfortunately the universal hallmarks of violent government takeover I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in in learning about life in other parts of the world


  10. says:

    Beneath the Lion's Gaze threw me right into a country and an historic era I knew little or almost nothing about but Maaza Mengiste introduces gives a history lesson in an unotrusive way using the family and neighborhood she portrays for showing the influence of politics on simple people who get involved in different ways giving voice to various ideologies from the fiery Dawit who firmly believes in change and an egalitarian system his uiet brother who tries to stay out of the way of history without success just as their father Hailu a doctor who stands up against suffering even though his own life is full of it Sara with the deeply disturbing need to punish herself the brave elders sho help to identify victims of the terror regime of the Derg Mengiste's great talent is her empathy her absolute ability to get into the soul of her characters to express their feelings in a believable wayand to weave a web of interaction the reader feels drawn into She mentions Uwem Akban as one of her influences and as in the collection of short stories by this Nigerian author Say you're one of them I couldn't stop reading firstly because we're way too seldom forced to look that directly at cruely and violence in Africa secondly because these are master storytellers who made me cry and care for the people they describe A stunning debut I'll be on the watch for of this


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