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Beneath the Lion's Gaze de Maaza Mengiste
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Beneath the Lion's Gaze (edició 2011)

de Maaza Mengiste (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
4133053,919 (3.84)44
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 and 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 more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia. Beneath the Lion's Gaze tells a gripping story of family, of the bonds of love and friendship set in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction before. 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.… (més)
Membre:Hemamayigowda
Títol:Beneath the Lion's Gaze
Autors:Maaza Mengiste (Autor)
Informació:Vintage (2011), 320 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
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Beneath the Lion's Gaze de Maaza Mengiste

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Es mostren 1-5 de 30 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A good overview of history that I knew nothing about, through characters that I felt very concerned about since obviously nothing good was going to happen to anyone. The book gets a little explain-y at times, and I found it hard to pick up, but perhaps that's because it was so heavy. As living under the Derg probably was. The history teacher in me is glad that I read it, the rest of me is going to go read some witty graphic novels or something else light now. ( )
  leahsusan | Mar 26, 2022 |
This is a bit of a tough read at times, with a great many gruesome torture scenes, but ultimately I found it compelling. It follows a particular well-to-do family in Ethiopia during the "revolution" and terror of the 1970s, along with some of their acquaintances – all in all it amounts to a huge and unwieldy cast. Unfortunately this means that most of the characters seem rather two-dimensional, but the sheer breadth of the work distracted me from that while reading.

This novel's main strength is the unflinching detail in describing the horror of dictatorship. It's really unfortunate that within the text such dictatorship is equated with "communism", as if intense repression was in any way the same thing as the democratic control of society by the working class, but y'know, Stalinism (and McCarthyism too, I suppose) should really take the blame for that. The other problem with the novel is that there are some rather unbelievable twists in the plot (mostly where the Colonel apparently had his own daughter arrested for handing out pamphlets, and she somehow without his authorisation got brutally tortured? how exactly was that supposed to have worked?!), as well as some turns that just didn't seem to come from anywhere. But nonetheless, I thought the novel evoked imagery very well – images of Ethiopia, of totalitarian regimes, etc.

I'd really feel more comfortable giving this three and a half; four seems too generous but three too harsh, considering that despite all the flaws I mentioned above I still found this gripping. I guess I would recommend this more as dystopian fiction than historical, and if you're coming at it from that interest, you'll probably enjoy it more. ( )
  Jayeless | May 27, 2020 |
This is a well-written and gripping book if read as historical FICTION; it's a well-written and frightening book when read as HISTORICAL fiction. It is amazing how quickly the machinery of fascism and totalitarianism can get set up by people ostensibly working in the interest of the "people". Africa usually shakes free of the shackles of colonial powers only to fall prey to dictators backed by those powers. But Ethiopia was a sovereign nation ruled by an emperor whose lineage extended back into antiquity, so one could hope for so much more. Alas, like many kings and emperors, his neglect of the common people while living a life of luxury led to the coup that the cold war powers were only to glad to help make even more rapacious and violent.
Against this backdrop we get the gripping story of a family and country torn apart by the brutality of the Derg. Mengiste does a brilliant job of showing the different paths even members of the same family can take through a crisis of this magnitude and how there are many different types of courage and of resistance. When I read books like this, I always wonder, what would I do? How would that change based on when in my life it occurred? How did something like this happen without my knowledge? I was 13 when the Derg took power in the '70s. As an American, I remember Vietnam from that era, of course. I remember the Iranian Revolution. I remember Idi Amin and Apartheid. But why do I have this blank spot in my knowledge? Is it because no Americans or American interests were threatened? No cute elephants killed? Glad to fill in this missing knowledge even though it is sobering and gruesome to do so, and makes me grieve even more for Africa. I'll continue to fill in the holes of my knowledge of Africa as I find literature from each country and culture. I would heartily recommend Megiste for Ethiopia.
  jveezer | Feb 13, 2018 |
I wish I could give this another half star.

The first third was a mess but the book straightens itself out and streamlines into something quite powerful. One family in 1970s Ethiopia, the father is a doctor and the two adult children find themselves at opposite sides of a complex political situation. When the father is brought to jail after working on a tortured prisoner at his hospital, the family has to decide how they are going to handle his arrest and the crumbling, war torn society around them.
( )
1 vota laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Very rarely does a book make me cry. What a powerful novel! The author uses beautifully poetic language to write about a harsh and violent topic. I absolutely loved this. ( )
  PagesandPints | Sep 1, 2016 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 30 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Maaza Mengiste’s first novel, “Beneath the Lion’s Gaze,” opens in 1974 during the last days of Selassie’s six-decade rule. A young man lies on an operating table with a bullet in his back. A student protester, he is part of a popular tide that, along with a military uprising, will soon sweep Selassie from power. The attending physician wears a watch the emperor gave him upon his graduation from an English medical school. The doctor sees his patient — and his own younger son, who is also a revolutionary college student — as rash and foolish. His older son, a 32-year-old history professor with a small daughter and a wife, shares his father’s contempt for the burning and looting, the increasingly violent rallies.

It is brave of so young a novelist to attempt to tell not only Selassie’s story but also that of the Derg. Dinaw Mengestu, who left during his country’s “red terror” at the age of 2, glancingly addresses it from the perspective of an Ethiopian immigrant in his accomplished first novel, “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears.” And Nega Mezlekia’s memoir, “Notes From the Hyena’s Belly,” vividly describes his days as a guerrilla soldier in the Derg era. But neither has Mengiste’s tenacity. For all its beginner’s flaws, “Beneath the Lion’s Gaze” is an important novel, rich in compassion for its anguished characters.
afegit per kidzdoc | editaNew York Times, Lorraine Adams (Dec 31, 2009)
 
Beneath the Lion's Gaze is an extraordinary novel, which assembles a dauntingly broad cast of characters and, through them, tells stories that nobody can want to hear, in such a way that we cannot stop listening. Although set more than thirty years ago, Mengiste's novel is timely and vital: Its illumination of a world unfamiliar to most Americans shows us how individuals will fight to retain their humanity in the face of atrocity. And if, at the novel's end, Mengiste can discern in the rubble a glimmer of light, how can we not be grateful?
afegit per Shortride | editaBookforum, Claire Messud (Dec 1, 2009)
 
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We are the humbled bones

Bent in the thick of your silence.

Ask of your father God who elected you

Why he has forsaken us.

—Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin
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For my grandparents, Abele Haile Mariam and Maaza Wolde Hanna. And for my uncles, Mekonnen, Solomon, Seyoum, and all who died trying to find a better way.
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A thin blue vein pulsed in the collecting pool of blood where a bullet had lodged deep in the boy's back.
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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 and 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 more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia. Beneath the Lion's Gaze tells a gripping story of family, of the bonds of love and friendship set in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction before. 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.

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