The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

Critical Response and Awards

"What more potent setting is there than Washington for a novel about the architecture of hope and memory?", The New York Times

"The novel's dirge-like tone may put off readers looking for the next Kite Runner , but Mengestu's assured prose and haunting set pieces ... are heart-rending and indelible." Publisher's Weekly

"What lifts Children of the Revolution beyond the bounds of an immigrant's misery memoir is the captivating acuity of Mengestu's prose".[15]-Olivia Laing, The Guardian

"It was a textured story about the immigrants' struggle in America, rendered in beautiful prose and from the perspective of an African shop-owner in Washington, DC."[16]-The Economist

Mengestu's first novel has received generally favorable reviews by critics, with notable papers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian giving it due credit. There has been nearly unanimous praise for Mengestu's sense of prose and depiction of issues that apply not only to the immigrant experience but also transcend such boundaries. The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears has contributed to The New Yorker naming Dinaw Mengestu one of their "20 Under 40" writers and has also won several awards and recognition including:

  • One of The New York Times Notable Books of 2007
  • The Guardian First Book Prize
  • National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35"
  • Seattle Reads Selection of 2008

among others.

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