Daily Archives: April 9, 2014

** All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu


In  All Our Names, a foreign student from Ethiopia arrives on the campus of a small Midwestern university and starts a relationship with the social worker who is tasked with getting him situated. It’s tough going since the small town is not welcoming, to say the least, of an interracial couple, but also because his past, that slowly seeps into the novel, is mysterious, brutal, and in any case never revealed to his love interest. The writing is beautiful, the alternating present and past stories deep and satisfying — but with one glaring exception. I could not understand why the woman, the social worker, could remain attached to this mystery of a man, who clearly refuses to divulge anything about his past.

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Filed under New fiction