Imatge de l'autor

Maaza Mengiste

Autor/a de The Shadow King

6+ obres 1,161 Membres 76 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

Inclou aquests noms: Maaza Mengiste, Maaza Menngiste

Crèdit de la imatge: Maaza Mengiste at BookExpo at the Javits Center in New York City, May 2019. By Rhododendrites - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Obres de Maaza Mengiste

The Shadow King (2019) 669 exemplars
Beneath the Lion's Gaze (2010) 447 exemplars
Addis Ababa Noir (2020) — Editor — 37 exemplars
O Rei-Sombra 1 exemplars

Obres associades

The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (2018) — Col·laborador — 148 exemplars
The Granta Book of the African Short Story (2011) — Col·laborador — 91 exemplars
A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors (2015) — Col·laborador — 12 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Nom normalitzat
Mengiste, Maaza
Data de naixement
Lloc de naixement
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Llocs de residència
Brooklyn, New York, USA
New York University



Could not stay with it. Well written, but confusing for post-modern rather than narrative reasons. Could not get absorbed enough to stick with it. I should note, trying to read in October of 2020 is difficult.
BookyMaven | Hi ha 30 ressenyes més | Dec 6, 2023 |
CW: this book contains violence, including of a sexual nature.

I first fell in love with the gorgeous art work of the cover for The Shadow King while browsing NetGalley, but I knew I HAD to read this book after looking at the blurb. Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia during WWII is afforded very little (if any) space in history text books around the world, but as an Italian woman, I was even more aware of really how little I knew of this chapter in history.

The Shadow King is, of course, not a history book, but, being based on the author's own family history and extensive research, it provides a snapshot of life in a country at war. Following both the Ethiopian and the Italian armies, The Shadow King features an impressive cast of unforgettable characters. I was very impressed at how well most of these were painted, as almost every character, even the ones we meet only a few times, felt complex and real. The book avoided falling in the good people/bad people trap, showing time and again how light and dark, cruelty and kindness can co-exist within each individual.

The pacing was slightly uneven, with some sections being rather action-packed, and others moving much more slowly. Normally, this would bother me quite a bit, but for some reason it just seemed to work here. I also really liked the author's style. The prose was beautiful and often lyrical, although it felt slightly overbearing at times and occasionally made for some very confusing sentences. In particular, the lack of conventional punctuation and the absence of quotation marks to introduce dialogues (think Saramago) definitely needed some getting used to, and may be off-putting to some readers.

The one thing that made this stop short of a 5-star rating for me was the fact that, for a book wanting to focus on the forgotten contribution of women in war, there really weren't that many women in the main cast. Hirut and Aster were really the only fully-fleshed out female warriors, while we were introduced to numerous male fighters in Kidane's camp. While I loved getting to know Hirut and Aster, exploring their complexities and their backgrounds, I would have definitely preferred to see more of other female characters, such as Fifi or any of the numerous unnamed women in Kidane's army.

Overall, this was a very interesting read, tackling a lesser-known side of history with grace. I will definitely be on the look-out for more of Maaza Mengiste's work!

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (més)
bookforthought | Hi ha 30 ressenyes més | Nov 7, 2023 |
This is an important and ambitious story. I wanted to love it, but I just kind of liked it. The pacing is off. The prose is overly ornate and though at times very moving, it mostly just obscured the message.

But the killer is the formatting. The formatting makes this book absolutely miserable. There are no quotation marks, making it impossible to tell if something was said or only thought and especially difficult to distinguish when multiple speakers were in dialogue. Worse - the point of view shifts between characters with no clue to the reader, sometimes in the middle of a paragraph. I had to reread a lot to try to get a grip on the story.

2.5 stars
… (més)
KristinDiBum | Hi ha 30 ressenyes més | Jul 21, 2023 |
This is the story of a family on the eve of the Ethiopian revolution that would topple the centuries old monarchy. Hailu is a famous doctor, who is helpless before his wife's congenital heart failure. His older son, Yonas, is in his thirties and a professor of history, religious, with a wife and young daughter. The younger son, Dawit, is a college student, idealistic and intent on being part of the change happening around him, rebelling against his father's attempts to protect him. What happens to them during the years 1974-77 is heartbreaking and absorbing and a beautiful look at family relationships during a tumultuous period of political upheaval.

Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa and now lives in the United States. She writes with a maturity that belies this is her first novel. The language is such that I reread passages just to enjoy the language. It is a difficult novel to read, however, because of the atrocities that happened in those years. Although the setting is historical, and I know nothing about Ethiopian history, I had no trouble following the plot because this is not a novel about the macro, but the micro, a family. That said, I think the novel is well-researched, given the bibliography at the end. I very much look forward to reading her later novel, The Shadow King.
… (més)
labfs39 | Hi ha 30 ressenyes més | Apr 3, 2023 |



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Tandazani Dhlakama Contributor and Assistant Curator
Cheryl Moskowitz Translator
Linda Yohannes Contributor
Mahtem Shiferraw Contributor
Bewketu Seyoum Contributor
Hewan Semon Translator
Adam Reta Contributor
Lelissa Girma Contributor
Meron Hadero Contributor
Hannah Giorgis Contributor
Rebecca Fisseha Contributor
Girma T. Fantaye Contributor
Mikael Awake Contributor
Sulaiman Addonia Contributor
Robin Miles Narrator


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