Dinaw Mengestu
2024 |

The son of Ethiopian immigrants seeks to understand a hidden family history and uncovers a past colored by unexpected loss, addiction, and the enduring emotional pull toward home. After abandoning his once promising career as a journalist in search of a new life in Paris, Mamush meets Helen—a photographer whose way of seeing the world shows him the possibility of finding not only love, but family. Now, five years later, with his marriage to Helen on the verge of collapse, he returns to the close-knit immigrant Ethiopian community of Washington DC that defined his childhood. At its center is Mamush’s stoic, implacable mother, and Samuel,the larger-than-life father-figure whose ceaseless charm and humor have always served as cover for a harder, more troubling truth. But on the same day that Mamush arrives home in Washington, Samuel is found dead in his garage. With Helen and their two-year old son back in Paris, Mamush sets out on an unexpected journey across America in search of answers to questions he'd been told never to ask. As he does so, he begins to understand that perhaps the only chance he has of saving his family and making it back home is to confront not only the unresolved mystery around Samuel’s life and death, but his own troubled memories, and the years spent masking them. Breathtaking, commanding, unforgettable work from one of America’s most prodigiously gifted novelists.

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Someone Like Us

A novel