The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

Dinaw Mengestu

Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu is a skilled observer of people who offers a colorful debut work of fiction. Insightful and swiftly paced, this novel evokes past and present in the course of its compelling narrative. It’s the `70s, and one D.C. neighborhood is undergoing big changes. In the mix is Ethiopian grocery owner Sepha Stephanos – a man with a complex past who fled his homeland after seeing his father brutalized by themilitary. He hopes for new prospects in D.C.’s gentrification process, but his store is struggling. Next door to his apartment building lives Judith, a successful white woman working to renovate her house. As Sepha bonds with Judith and her biracial, 11-year-old daughter Naomi, he is inevitably subject to the mounting pressures of race and class that are in flux around them.