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January 6, 2008

A gentrification novel set in DC, with a twist


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.


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