How to Read the Air

How to Read the Air

Large Print - 2011
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One September afternoon, Yosef and Mariam, Ethiopian immigrants who have spent all but their first year of marriage apart, set off on a road trip from their home in Peoria, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of a new identity as an American couple. Months later, their son, Jonas, is born in Illinois. Thirty years later, Yosef has died, and Jonas is desperate to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. Leaving everything behind in New York, Jonas sets out to retrace his parents' trip and, in a stunning display of imagination, weaves together a family history that takes him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to a brighter vision of his life in the America of today.
Publisher: Thorndike, Me. : Center Point Pub., 2011.
Edition: Center Point large print ed.
ISBN: 9781602859555
Characteristics: 383 p. (large print) ; 23 cm.


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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.


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