I have an interview up on arts/culture website The Rumpus today with author Dinaw Mengestu.
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Dinaw Mengestu’s name may be hard to pronounce (dih-NOW men-GUESS-too), but you’ll soon be hearing it a lot more. Earlier this year, the Ethiopian-born author was named to The New Yorker’s list of the top 20 fiction writers under age 40, and his second novel, How to Read the Air, was published last week. Like his acclaimed debut, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, the new novel explores the dislocation of African immigrants. This time around, the narrator is Jonas Woldemariam, a withdrawn and slippery character who, following the death of his father and the collapse of his marriage, retraces a road trip his Ethiopian immigrant parents took through the Midwest 30 years earlier. Just don’t believe everything he says.
I caught up with Mengestu last weekend before a reading at The Booksmith in San Francisco, where he talked about the importance of imagination, responded to his “ridiculous” recent New York Times review and lied to my face (by request).
Check out the interview here!