Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
A Novel

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Synopsis

"An important novel, rich in compassion for its anguished characters."—The New York Times Book Review


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. 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.
 

About Maaza Mengiste

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Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was named “New Literary Idol” by New York magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Published January 3, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 321 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beneath the Lion's Gaze

Kirkus Reviews

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Hailu treats patients without regard to political affiliations, but his neutrality is challenged when a torture victim is brought in by several soldiers from the military junta now in charge of Ethiopia.

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The New York Times

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Under the weight of this solitude, all of the emperor’s hours, minutes and seconds blurred and ran together like a slow, dying river.” Once Selassie is killed — Mengiste imagines a military officer as the assassin — the novelist turns her attention to life under the Derg, the Marxist military con...

Dec 31 2009 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

The Guardian

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Of the many great traumas of 20th-century Ethiopia – invasion by Mussolini, war with Eritrea, with Sudan, with Somalia, famine after famine, two violent regime changes – arguably the greatest was the deposition of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, and the replacement of hundreds of years of imperia...

Apr 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

Christian Science Monitor

Norton 308 pp., $24.95 Ethiopia, an independent country for almost 3,000 years, has its own written language and a larger population than any African country other than Nigeria.

Mar 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

The Bookbag

Hailu continues to work in the hospital, trying to hold it together in the face of pressure to treat on the basis of rank rather than clinical need, trying to perform with ever decreasing stocks of medicine.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

Oregon Live

Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie's regime was toppled by a brutal coup in the wake of a famine in the early 1970s, providing the setting for Maaza Mengiste's novel, "Beneath the Lion's Gaze."

Mar 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

PopMatters

After the coup and the institution of the military dictatorship, these characters are pulled apart in a manner familiar to civil war stories, rebelling against the regime or supporting the government out of fear or greed.

Mar 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

While they’re witnesses to history (and yes, even participants), Mengiste stops short of detailing the lingering effect history doubtless will have on all these family members we care about.

Jan 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

Full Stop

For his terminally ill wife, “death came in moonlight,” but for this appallingly tortured woman, death “is in the crash and tear of depravity and brutality.” Deciding that such a death should only torment a person once, Hailu slips cyanide between his patient’s lips, holds her hand, and watches a...

Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

Tadias

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze depicts the emperor dying at the hands of another fictional character through other means.

Jan 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

http://bookmarksmagazine.com

Norton & Company Product Description An epic tale of a father and two sons, of betrayals and loyalties, of a family unraveling in the wake of Ethiopia’s revolution.This memorable, heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa,...

Jan 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze: A Novel

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