Beneath the Lion's Gaze
"An important novel, rich in compassion for its anguished characters."—The New York Times Book Review
This memorable, heartbreaking story 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 more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia.
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze tells a gripping story of family, 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 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 and powerful debut.
- January 2011
- 5.5 × 8.2 in
/ 308 pages
- Sales Territory: Worldwide excluding Canada and the British Commonwealth.
Endorsements & Reviews
“An extraordinary novel, which assembles a dauntingly broad cast of characters and, through them, tells stories that nobody can want to hear, in such a way that we cannot stop listening.” — Claire Messud, Bookforum
“Revolutionary Ethiopia in the seventies is the searing backdrop for Maaza Mengiste's incandescent debut . . . the acutely observed story of a family-a prominent doctor and his sons, one moderate, one mutinous—undone by war.” — Vogue
“The real marvel of this tender novel is its coiled plotting, in which coincidence manages to evoke the colossal emotional toll of the revolution.” — The New Yorker
“Mengiste gracefully builds the story to a heart-pumping conclusion. . . . Even with its share of tragedy, this is an absorbing drama . . . enhanced by the author's spare, spectacular prose.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The new generation of twenty-first-century African writers have now come of age. Without a doubt Habila is one of the best.”—Emmanuel DongalaMore