This memorable, heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,1974, on the eve of a revolution. Yonas kneels in his mother’s prayerroom, pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wrackedhis family and country. His father, Hailu, a prominent doctor, has beenordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state-sanctionedtorture to die. And Dawit, Hailu’s youngest son, has joined anunderground resistance movement—a choice that will lead to moreupheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia.
Beneath the Lion’s Gazetells a gripping story of family, of the bonds of love and friendshipset in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction. It isa story about the lengths human beings will go in pursuit of freedomand the human price of a national revolution. Emotionally gripping,poetic, and indelibly tragic, Beneath The Lion’s Gaze is a transcendent and powerful debut.
"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 "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 "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