Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I shed those names my parents had given me.", March 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: All Our Names (Kindle Edition)
In the middle of this exquisite book is a perfect metaphor. It is the story of a town that existed as long as one person dreamed of it night. "In the beginning, everyone kept some part of the city alive in their dreams." But one day people grew tired of the burden and wished to dream of other lands or hopes for the future. A young man announces he will take the burden and dream of the city each night. However as the citizens relinquish their pictures of the city, the young man changes the scene little by little. Finally people begin to disappear and the dreamers become aware of what they had lost, but the city of memory was lost.

That story is as precise a summary of this book as any other, mostly the realities are different. Mengestu paints that murky world bordering on distrust in which one's true name is unlikely to be known. The story of Isaac and his friend takes place in the nightmare of Amin's Uganda and concerns the young men who try to rebel. In alternating chapters, we meet a young American woman, Helen, who has befriended Isaac some unknown time after the strife. She is a social worker, now numbed by the world's misery. The African man and the white woman make a threatening pair to many in their claustrophobic town. To add to her misery, Helen is sure she knows little of truth about her lover.

The imagery of the novel is precise and unhurried. Violence is almost under reported in a tone that accepts that such is the way of that world. The relationships of the young rebels and later the lovers are marked by tests of trust based on the merest of evidence. The unease and the ill defined threat are created almost as afterthoughts as the characters struggle to define themselves and the people they love.

Like Helen, I often feel that African struggles are horrors not understood by those of us who take belonging for granted. THis book invites the reader into that queasy world in which the true name is granted only after trial.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.0 out of 5 stars (107 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (43)
4 star:
 (35)
3 star:
 (19)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
$9.99
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 323