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Beneath the Lion’s Gaze: A Novel

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“An important novel, rich in compassion for its anguished characters.” ―The New York Times Book Review This memorable, heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1974, on the eve of a revolution. Yonas kneels in his mother’s prayer room, pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family and

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Added on: November 16, 2017 - More: Comments & Reviews


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“An important novel, rich in compassion for its anguished characters.” ―The New York Times Book Review

This memorable, heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1974, on the eve of a revolution. Yonas kneels in his mother’s prayer room, pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family and country. His father, Hailu, a prominent doctor, has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state-sanctioned torture to die. And Dawit, Hailu’s youngest son, has joined an underground resistance movement―a choice that will lead to more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia.

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze tells a gripping story of family, of the bonds of love and friendship set in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction. It is a story about the lengths human beings will go in pursuit of freedom and the human price of a national revolution. Emotionally gripping, poetic, and indelibly tragic, Beneath The Lion’s Gaze is a transcendent and powerful debut.

Sharon M. says:

“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” — just ask Ethiopia This factional/fictional version of the end of the Emporer’s reign and the onset of its brutal, misguided replacement is given humanity through the effects on one family and circle of friends. Sometimes lyrical, sometimes repulsive, the story unfolds compellingly. My only reservation about the author’s approach is that the resolution of Dawit’s struggle comes too quickly in the end, with far less explication of how he comes home than of how and why he left.

RachelS says:

We’re glad we read it Received when promised. Very well written. Book club read it to learn about difficult history in Ethiopia. It’s not a “feel good” book because the subject is violent and heart rending. We’re glad we read it, but are happy to move on to a lighter read.

DiFi says:

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze I was bored and stopped reading after 20 pages or so.

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