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January 6, 2008

A gentrification novel set in DC, with a twist

MengestuCover.jpg

Atlantic Yards Report

The New York Times Book Review calls Dinaw Mengestu's novel The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (the title's a reference to Dante's Inferno) "a great African novel, a great Washington novel, and a great American novel." (It's out February 5 in paperback; that's the third cover below.)

As the artful cover image indicates, the book indeed is many things, but for me, it was a great "gentrification novel," part of that burgeoning subgroup of books (see The Fortress of Solitude, etc.) that capture urban neighborhoods under pressure.
...
And guess what: Mengestu now lives in Brooklyn. In the anthology Brooklyn Was Mine (about which I'll write more shortly), he celebrates his polyglot neighborhood of Kensington.

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Posted by amy at January 6, 2008 11:30 AM