How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu

How to Read the Air

Dinaw Mengestu

A novel of subtlety and intimacy where themes of identity and purpose dominate the life of the main character, Jonas. His Ethiopian heritage is always in the background, never quite allowing him to settle and be a part of his US surroundings. Elegant it is; action packed it is not. A book to meditate over.

Extract

And so on the afternoon that my parents arrived at Fort Laconte, while my father slowly circled the fort, stopping carefully to read the historical notices nailed to the posts in the ground, my mother would have lingered around the edges, closer to the forest than to the fort, in order to get a more complete view of the scene before her. She would have searched out a quiet place to sit, somewhere near here, along the back walls, where a few of the stones have fallen, creating what appears to be a little network of benches to sit on. A stone like this one would have been perfect for her.

Parallels
  • Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed
  • Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna

Books with similar mood

Whatever Happened to Billy Parks

Gareth R Roberts

A Little Stranger

Kate Pullinger

The Vintage and the Gleaning

Jeremy Chambers

Darling?

Heidi Jon Schmidt

PS, I Love You

Cecelia Ahern

Let's Twist Again

Leo Cullen

Still Life

Louise Penny

Green Man Running

Georgina Hammick

Fasting, Feasting

Anita Desai

Skinjob

Bruce McCabe

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

Ann Weisgarber

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips

The Pocket Guide to Being an Indian Girl

B K Mahal

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

Anthony & Ben Holden (eds)

Nelson's Daughter

Miranda Hearn

Catching the Light

Karen Powell

No Christian Grave

Edmund Power

Five Photos of my Wife

Agnes Desarthe

The P45 Diaries

Ben Hatch

Missing Nancy

Carolyn Lewis

The Happiest Days

Cressida Connolly

The Sealwoman's Gift

Sally Magnussen

Sweet Offerings

Chan Ling Yap

Deaf Sentence

David Lodge

Double Negative

Ivan Vladislavic

The Final Bet

Abdelilah Hamdouchi

The Informer

Akimitsu Takagi

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

Ayelet Waldman

Wild Geese

Lara Harte

The Amateur Marriage

Anne Tyler

A Crying Shame

Renate Dorrestein

The Tin Man

Martin Shannon

The Memory Game

Nicci French

Revenge of the Middle-aged Woman

Elizabeth Buchan

The Hope Family Calendar

Mike Gayle

Ugly Duckling

Amita Mukerjee

The Golden Door

Kerry Jamieson

Ancient Promises

Jaishree Misra

River, Cross My Heart

Breena Clarke

Pears on a Willow Tree

Leslie Pietrzyk

Undue Influence

Anita Brookner

The India House

William Palmer

By Night the Mountain Burns

Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel

The Following Girls

Louise Lavene

The Cookbook Collector

Allegra Goodman

Luke and Jon

Robert Williams

Short Girls

Bich Minh Nguyen

Despite the Falling Snow

Shamim Sarif

According to Queeney

Beryl Bainbridge