Beneath the Lion's Gaze

  • Title: Beneath the Lion's Gaze
  • Author: Maaza Mengiste
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 309
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Beneath the Lion s Gaze Beneath the Lion s Gaze opens in Addis Ababa Ethiopia 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 f
    Beneath the Lion s Gaze 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 youBeneath the Lion s Gaze 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 upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia.Maaza Mengieste s powerful debut tells a gripping story of family and 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 to which 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 story that introduces a powerful new voice.

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      Published :2019-04-15T15:52:54+00:00

    About Maaza Mengiste


    1. Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion s Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe and other publications Her fiction and nonfiction can be found in The New Yorker, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, BBC Radio,and Lettre International, among other places She was the 2013 Puterbaugh Fellow and a Runner up for the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Both her fiction and nonfiction examine the individual lives at stake during migration, war, and exile, and consider the intersections of photography and violence She was a writer on the social activist documentary film, Girl Rising, which features the voices of actors such as Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, and Cate Blanchett She currently serves on the boards of Words Without Borders and Warscapes Her second novel, The Shadow King, is forthcoming.


    433 Comments


    1. This novel is set in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, in the late 1970’s. It’s the last days of Christian Emperor Haile Selassie who successfully led the fight against Mussolini’s soldiers - spears vs. tanks. Ethiopia today is still two-thirds Christian (Coptic) and one-third Moslem. But now a military takeover has occurred and the communists are in power, a group known as the Derg. Cuba, East Germany, USSR and North Korea become their allies, sending financial and military aid. At [...]

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    2. Let’s be real here – a lot of what we (Westerners) know of Ethiopia is based on those late night aid commercials soliciting support for starving children with distended bellies and flies swarming their faces. This is incredibly problematic. Maaza Mengiste’s “Beneath The Lion’s Gaze” flies in the face of that monolithic stock image of the country and gives a richly drawn description of Ethiopian life before the 1974 revolution that many people know little or nothing about.This is the [...]

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    3. This book has a tone and the best word I have for it is sombre. I felt Mengiste's Ethiopia to be grand, dignified, ancient, steeped in its rich mythopoesis. The graceful prose seems to move glacially from idea to idea, image to image, never becoming fevered or fragmenting as its subjects do. The segments from the viewpoint of Haile Selassie seem entirely appropriate in this mood. What I'm saying might sound like distance, the vertical perspective of a strategy game, but the texture here is also [...]

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    4. I Had this book for a really long time but never got round to reading it. Now that i'm done im kinda wondering why it took me so long. The book is about the Ethiopian revolution as seen though the eyes of a fictional family in the time period. The author goes to great lengths to get the reader to understand what each of the characters are going through before , during and after the revolution.i really felt like i was going through the struggle with the characters in the book and the decisions th [...]

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    5. "Beneath the Lion's Gaze" begins in 1974 during the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie's despotic rule of Ethiopia. Told through the fates of members of a well educated family it conveys the chaos, contradictions and violence that beset the country.As the story starts, the people of Ethiopia are literally dying of starvation as an aged and aloof Emperor goes about business as usual. Then seemingly overnight Emperor and officials are seized, murdered or detained and a new struggle begins. The ne [...]

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    6. First, the cover is not doing this book any favors. I assumed it was a memoir, probably of a child soldier or something.Even once I realized this was a novel, I didn’t have high expectations for it: I was expecting another earnest but poorly-written book published on the strength of covering awful events in a time and place most Americans know little about. As it turns out, I did like the book more than expected.Beneath the Lion’s Gaze is set in 1970’s Ethiopia, a time of enormous upheaval [...]

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    7. I loved the characters and the setting was highly compelling. But I needed more plot. I really really needed more of a plot. You've got to have something happen, and that has to be shown as it's happening. Too many time whenever there was movement in the plot it was shown as FLASHBACK. 8-|. No.

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    8. Generalmente me pregunto si quieren quitar a Peña Nieto, a quién podrían? Las Revoluciones sirven cuando se sabe quién es el siguiente, cuando hay un líder que busca el bien común, la historia nos ha enseñado que eso no pasa y que desgraciadamente el Poder hace olvidar las "buenas intenciones" y corrompe al sistema y a las personas en él. Este libro ilustra perfecto cuantas vidas puede costar una mala decisión, recomendado más en estos tiempos de incertidumbre y próximas elecciones el [...]

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    9. “A farmer plows a land that isn’t his, that was never his father’s, which was never his grandfather’s, and will never be his son’s.”

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    10. Beneath the Lions Gaze is the story of the Ethopian Revolution in the mid 1970s, from the point of view of multiple characters. It opens with a doctor operating on another gunshot victim, while reflecting on his youngest son's involvement in the war, and his wife, dying of cancer in the same hospital. The son gets caught up in the resistance, and the doctor euthanizes a torture victim of the regime. It took me a long time to get into this book; I picked it up andread about 20 pages of and put do [...]

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    11. I've had this book for years and finally got around to reading it, though, I admit, it took me awhile to feel connected to the story and the characters. However, I'm so glad I stuck with it. The setting is Ethiopia in the 1970s during the beginning of the Red Terror period of history there, in which a military government promising change and equality essentially terrorizes the civilian population and massacres any dissenters. This story focuses mainly on a father and his two sons, which was intr [...]

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    12. Beneath the Lion's Gaze threw me right into a country and an historic era I knew little or almost nothing about, but Maaza Mengiste introduces gives a history lesson in an unotrusive way, using the family and neighborhood she portrays for showing the influence of politics on simple people who get involved in different ways, giving voice to various ideologies from the fiery Dawit who firmly believes in change and an egalitarian system, his quiet brother who tries to stay out of the way of history [...]

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    13. I have not read a better book in a very long time! This novel is about the Ethiopian revolution. It takes place in Addis Ababa in 1974. Hailu is a prominent doctor. His wife is dying in his hospital, his son, Dawit, is an angry student revolutionary who attends rallies and hands out pamphlets in an effort to make Ethiopia a better place. Millions of people have died from famine while the emperor lives in a palace and his soldiers eat like kings. It has been promised by a military coup that once [...]

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    14. In short: The premise of the book is good, the execution I found lacking.While the book has an intriguing setting during the Ethiopian revolution and the first part sets up the drama to follow quite well, the plot meanders for the last two thirds of the book.Similarly, the character structure with no clear protagonist but a richly interwoven net of characters mostly from one family who all deal with the horrors of the revolution differently is a great idea, but difficult to pull off, and I felt [...]

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    15. I wanted to like this book more than what I did, I tried. The story and the cultural background was perfect - I simply loved this aspect. The writing felt weak and inconsistent. Some chapters were full of fire and well-constructed prose. Other's fell flat. It took a long time before I even cared for many of the characters and for many they seemed like a blur - not fully developed.

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    16. Mengiste writes skillfully, her words gliding over allusions to god, war, magic, dreams, and hopelessness, all on one page. While I would say the book is a bit slow to pick up, I feel-- in slight agreement with the Guardian's review on the back cover of the paperback edition published by Vintage-- that that's because she works hard to describe the Ethiopia of the 1970s while also fleshing out her wide range of characters, giving us insights into their fears, prayers and emotions. I also think th [...]

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    17. I was given this book by a friend from an Ethiopian decent. We often converse about history and our ancestry, but there was always a block preventing our conversation from going further. She thought this book would help breaking down the block-- and it somewhat did. Set in 1970’s Ethiopia, a time of great upheaval after the infamous devastating famine many did not know of at the time and the governmental inaction. Student protests escalated to a revolution that overthrew the hereditary monarch [...]

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    18. Il libro più duro e sofferente che mi sia mai capitato di leggere; durante la lettura mi sembrava di affogare nel dolore. Dolore per un Paese, l'Etiopia straziata dalla guerra civile, dalle torture, dalle uccisioni, da un'esistenza senza via di scampo. Ed in questo clima asfissiante si innesta la vita di una famiglia alle prese con le proprie personali disgrazie: lutti, malattie, insofferenza.Cupo, tragico, drammaticissimo, eppure bello.

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    19. This review was first written for Author Exposure:authorexposure/2011/01Beneath the Lion’s Gaze disturbingly, vividly, and passionately reminds us that only those willing to be fearless in their quest for knowledge of our world community’s history will recognize what an indomitable spirit we though scattered, demonstrate as inhabitants of a global community. With an unwavering hand, Maaza Mengiste pens an extraordinarily gripping debut narrative during the turbulent events that transpired no [...]

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    20. Beneath the Lion's Gaze is such a fantastic and moving novel for 95 percent of its length that the little niggling things it doesn't do as well as it might end up feeling like bigger problems than they actually are. Author Maaza Mengiste is trying something hugely ambitious here, as she aims to sketch in an entire neighborhood that will stand in for a country little-represented in world literature. Few debut novels have this much ambition, which ultimately makes Mengiste's few missteps easier to [...]

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    21. 3.5 stars, but closer to 4 than 3.This was a quick read and had me wanting to read more and more to find out what would happen so it was disappointing that the book didn't end with any clear conclusion. It was based on the Ethiopian civil war, but only two of the characters (the Emperor and Guddu) were based on real people. This left me wondering how much of what I read was real, but the author's note at the end did show that she read a lot of books about the subject, such as prisoners' accounts [...]

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    22. “Beneath the Lion’s Gaze” is one of the most culturally-profound, unforgettable, deeply moving novels you've probably never heard of, but should consider reading. The mechanics are flawless; the prose is eloquent; the characters are powerfully identifiable; settings and atmosphere transport with vivid clarity. However, be cautioned – some scenes are quite graphic and disturbing. Unlike propaganda, truth doesn't masquerade as honey: “Sign this . . . we have a new and better way for you [...]

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    23. I want to like this book, but I think Half of a Yellow Sun ruined me I wanted to like this, and the first book was good, but in the second book, as we shift from the close family drama to the broader political scene the characters seem stiff and cliché to me. Historically this is interesting, but I think I'm strugling with two things: 1) I'm not really into "historical family drama"-novels 2) Sorry to say, but having just read the awesome Half of a Yellow Sun - this just seems like a weak attem [...]

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    24. The best part of the book is how the author creates links between the family's story and the major changes in Ethiopian politics in the 1970s, when Emperor Haile Selassie was ousted and the Derg took power. The instrumentalization (and mediatization) of the famine in the North of Ethiopia and how it gave space to a bloodshed authoritarian government. Makes you want to learn more about Ethiopian history. I love this kind of romance, that is, the ones that mix major events in history with fiction, [...]

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    25. The book follows one families fortunes as Ethiopia transitioned from the monarchy of Haile Salasie into the Army/thug dictatorship that followed. The family is relatively prosperous, the paternal head is one of Addis Ababa's most prominent physicians. Trained in England and married to a gorgeous wife from a royal clan. As you might guess things will not go well for this family under the new communist in name only regime. But first family dynamics are played out against the back drop of a couple [...]

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    26. Well written book, by an author behind whom rests the success of the future of pan-African modern story telling (based on the advanced praise). Mengiste writes a story of a man and his two sons during the Red Terror of Ethopia's flirtation with Communism in it's path/struggle to overthrow the monarchy. The father loses his wife, sick from the very beginning of the novel, and then struggles with the perceived loss of his son as he watches his second son repeatedly put himself in danger by becomin [...]

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    27. I absolutely loved Part One of this book. I loved it so much that I defended it against the vehement attacks my classmates threw against it, citing the several typos and repetitive, odd word-choices (such as "ululations") as proof that it wasn't worthy enough to take time away from our Capstone, the most important project of our high-school careers. For the first week, I completely disagreed with them. All of the characters were sharp and effective in their roles, and every chapter was an entert [...]

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    28. Every page of this novel is filled with profound sadness: Death, torture, suffering, and just a prevailing mood of despondency. It's not the sort of book that one should be engrossed in while sitting poolside at a vacation resort -- the dissonance is nearly unbearable --but I simply could not put down this story about the 1970s revolution in Ethiopia, when Emperor Haile Selassie is executed by the military (as portrayed chillingly in this novel) and a group of Communist zealots terrorizes Addis [...]

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    29. Beneath the Lion's Gaze is a novel with its central theme based on the Ethiopian revolution( which began in 1974). Just like many other revolutions which have taken place around the world, it comes with a package of unprecedented and abrupt changes in the society, within the family, between friends, neighbours, the government and the security agents of the state.Maaza Mengiste was able to capture some of the events and effects of the revolution on the Ethiopian society majorly through a particul [...]

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    30. Well, I really had no idea what life is like in Ethiopia. All I really knew of it before this book was the commercials of starving children from the churches that wanted you to send money to help them, and an occasional blip on the news. So, this was a bit of a culture shock for me. The story was well written ad haunting. I cried, I fell in love with the characters and the land, and the imagery stuck with me. I still can't believe people can do that sort of thing to other people. I know that it [...]

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