How to Read the Air
Jonas, fresh from a failed marriage, is desperate to make sense of the ties that have forged him. How can he dream of a future when he can't make sense of his past? He hits the road, tracing the route that his parents - young Ethiopians in search of an identity as an American couple - took thirty year earlier to Nashville, Tennessee.
In a stunning display of imagination he weaves together a history that takes him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to a brighter vision of his own life in contemporary America, a story - real or invented- that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.
Dinaw Mengestu was born in Ethiopia in 1978 and is a graduate of Georgetown and Columbia universities. His 2007 debut novel,
Children of the Revolution, won the Guardian First Book Award and the
Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2010, he was included in the
New Yorker's '20 Under 40' list of writers to watch.
"A straight-forward, compassionate, keenly sensitive observer of real life" -- James Lasdun Guardian "A story of exile and redemption, beautifully written" -- Kate Saunders The Times "[Mengestu has] pulled off a narrative sleight of hand, weaving two - or is it three? - beautiful fictions, while reminding us subtly that the most seductive may be the least true" Los Angeles Times "How To Read the Air is deeply thought out, deliberate in its craftsmanship and in many parts beautifully written...remarkably talented" -- Miguel Syjuco The Scotsman "Challenging" -- Peter Carty Independent