He is the recipient of a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Lannan Literary Award, and received a "5 under 35" Award from the National Book Foundation.
His first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, was named a New York Times Notable Book and awarded the Guardian First Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, among numerous other honors.
Mengestu now  lives with his wife and son in Paris.
Read the Air
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Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (October 14, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
From the prizewinning international literary star: the searing and
powerful story of one man's search for redemption.
Dinaw Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned the young writer comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical praise and awards around the world for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience. Now Mengestu enriches the themes that defined his debut with a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination, which confirms his reputation as one of the brightest talents of his generation.
One early September afternoon, Yosef and Mariam, young Ethiopian immigrants who have spent all but their first year of marriage apart, set off on a road trip from their new home in Peoria, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of a new identity as an American couple. Soon, their son, Jonas, will be born in Illinois. Thirty years later, Yosef has died, and Jonas needs to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. How can he envision his future without knowing what has come before? Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas 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, a story—real or invented—that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption
Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
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Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (March 1, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1 inches
Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution for a new start in the United States. Now he finds himself running a failing grocery store in a poor African-American section of Washington, D.C., his only companions two fellow African immigrants who share his bitter nostalgia and longing for his home continent. Years ago and worlds away Sepha could never have imagined a life of such isolation. As his environment begins to change, hope comes in the form of a friendship with new neighbors Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter. But when a series of racial incidents disturbs the community, Sepha may lose everything all over again.
Awards for The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears Include: