Dinaw Mengestu

How to Read the Air

How to Read the Air


A powerful and moving summer read that explores love, grief and the reality of the contemporary American immigrant experience

Jonas, fresh from a failed marriage, is desperate to make sense of the ties that have forged him. How can he dream of a future when he can't make sense of his past? He hits the road, tracing the route that his parents - young Ethiopians in search of an identity as an American couple - took thirty years earlier to Nashville, Tennessee.

In a stunning display of imagination he weaves together a history that takes him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to a brighter vision of his own life in contemporary America, a story - real or invented- that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.

‘A story of exile and redemption, beautifully written’ The Times

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