Sunday 19 November 2017

How to Read the Air, 2010, Dinaw Mengestu ****

"Like most of the men he was thirsty all the time, and he was convinced that there was something irreparably cruel about a place that put water that could not be drunk in front of you"
"The ships that you see at the far end of the port are all government controlled,... They carry one of two things: food or weapons. We don't make either of them in Sudan"
"I know what you want, he would shout. You want me to go back and have  me dead." In the way he phrased it, death always sounded less like a condition and more like an item from a grocery list. You want me to go back and get the fish. Or You want me to go back and get more bread."
Jonas trying to make sense of his existence, the broken relationship with his parents and the failed marriage to his wife Angela, has to invent a story for
himself. His father leaves his war thorn country, moves to Sudan where he lived in abject poverty. From Sudan he miraculously survives the trip to Europe, from where he finally moves to the U.S.A. His wife later joins him, by then, they have both become complete strangers. Which is to say that Jonas, the narrator, is conceived, born and brought up in an abusive family environment which affects his relationship with himself and others.

I fell in love with Dinaw Mengestu's "The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears", I must say that his novels are depressingly interesting. This is a novel I recommend, however, read with patient as the narrator would drag you back and forth for a while.

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  1. I abandoned this book this month lol. Kudos to you for finishing. I loved the beginning but then gave up at page 135. I do love Mengestu though.

    1. It took me a month to read. It is not a fast read. I think the main character is depressingly annoying not the writer.


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