All our names

Dinaw Mengestu
« Dinaw Mengestu left his native Ethiopia when he was just a toddler, but he still experienced America as an immigrant, and that challenge continues to shape his fiction. Raised in suburban Chicago, now an English professor at Georgetown University, Mengestu has just published his third novel, “All Our Names,” a mournful, mysterious tale about an African man who comes to the Midwest on a student visa. He falls for the woman who helps him settle in. Prejudice overshadows their relationship, yet it is equally haunted by the past.The peculiarities of this novel are clearly intentional. Mengestu said, “I think American literature is full of immigrant narratives. We know that story quite well. Part of what I’m definitely interested in doing is adding to the complexity and levels of the immigrant narrative in America.” What he presents here is tantalizingly laconic — long on mood, short on details — an attempt to represent the conflicted emotions of someone who has survived the loss of his family, his friends, his country, his identity. The novel moves back and forth between a young black man in Africa and a young white woman in America, both narrating their own chapters in an intimate, reflective tone. The time and place are a little hazy, though we begin in Uganda probably in the 1960s, as the “ecstatic promises of a socialist, Pan-African dream” are starting to fade into a long nightmare of civil wars. » Réservation en ligne
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