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All Our Names

Dinaw Mengestu

4 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

An unforgettable tale of love, friendship and revolution set between Africa and America, by the winner of the Guardian First Book Award.

LONGLISTED FOR THE FOLIO PRIZE 2015

Two young friends join an uprising against Uganda's corrupt regime in the early 1970s. As the line blurs between idealism and violence, one of them flees for his life.

In a quiet Midwestern town in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, an African student falls for the woman who helps him settle in. Prejudice overshadows their relationship, yet it is equally haunted by the past.

Both men are called Isaac. But are they one and the same?

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Praise for All Our Names

  • A story so straightforward but at the same time so mysterious that you can't turn the pages fast enough, and when you're done, your first impulse is to go back to the beginning and start over . . . The victories in this beautiful novel are hard fought and hard won, but won they are, and they are durable. - Malcolm Jones, New York Times Book Review

  • Deeply moving . . . Mengestu is concerned here not only with the dislocations experienced by immigrants, but also with broader questions of identity: how individuals define themselves by their dreams, their choices, the place or places they call home. - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

  • Elegiac, moving . . . Weighted with sorrow and gravitas, another superb story by Mengestu, who is among the best novelists now at work in America. - Kirkus

  • Mengestu's most impressive examination yet of the African diaspora . . . Worlds on a cusp, powerfully drawn: notable above all is Mengestu's desperately moving portrait of a compromised friendship. - Catherine Taylor, Sunday Telegraph

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Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu was born in Ethiopia in 1978 and raised in Illinois. His first novel, Children of the Revolution (published in the US as The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears), won the Guardian First Book Award in 2008, as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Prix du Premier Roman tranger. It was followed by How to Read the Air in 2010.

Mengestu's novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages and his fiction and journalism have been published in the New Yorker, Granta, Harper's, Rolling Stone, and the Wall Street Journal. He was chosen for the 5 under 35 Award by the National Book Foundation in 2007 and was one of the New Yorker's 20 under 40 in 2010. In 2012, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. He currently lives with his family in New York.

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