How to Read the Air

How to Read the Air

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas, the son of Ethiopian immigrants, sets out to retrace his mother and father's trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to his life in the America of today.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2010.
ISBN: 9781594487705
Characteristics: 305 p. ; 22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 07, 2016

The story of Jonas, the son of Ethiopian immigrants to the Midwest, is told in several threads, his marriage, his relationship with his parents, and his parents life in the Midwest. Mengetsu’s approach to telling this story is original and interesting.

ChristchurchLib Sep 19, 2012

Comprised of the chronicles of two physical journeys - the original undertaken by two Ethiopian immigrants to the U.S. and retraced, 30 years later, by their emotionally numb son - this tale of immigration and the consequences of imperfect communication will appeal to readers interested in the psychological toll taken by immigrating to a new country and culture. Though How to Read the Air centers on Ethiopian immigrants in Illinois and their Americanized son, those enamored of it may also like The Namesake, a similarly literary novel that details the challenges facing an Indian family that has immigrated to Massachusetts.

Listed in the Next Reads Fiction A to Z newsletter September 2012

debwalker Nov 18, 2010

Mengestu, one of the New Yorker’s new under 40 American authors, writes about a son of Ethiopian immigrants who reconstructs his murky family history via a road trip his parents took to Nashville before his birth.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at PDL

To Top