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Rob NixonAgain and again, Stephanos’s story makes us consider what it means to be displaced: from a local community, from a distant nation, from a love you had hoped to settle into. In Mengestu’s work, there’s no such thing as the nondescript life. He notices, and there are whole worlds in his noticing. He has written a novel for an age ravaged by the moral and military fallout of cross-cultural incuriosity. In a society slick with “truthiness” — and Washington may be the capital of that — there’s something hugely hopeful about this young writer’s watchful honesty and egalitarian tenderness. This is a great African novel, a great Washington novel and a great American novel.
— The New York Times