Join us at Sanborn Library as the Department of English and Creative Writing hosts Maaza Mengiste read from her new novel, The Shadow King, for the Cleopatra Mathis Poetry & Prose Series.
Set against the first real conflict of World War II, Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King is an indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war. In 1935, orphaned servant Hirut struggles to adapt to her new household as Ethiopia faces Mussolini’s looming invasion. As the battles begin in earnest, Hirut and other women must care for the wounded. But when Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia is about to lose hope, Hirut helps to disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor to keep the fight alive. She becomes his guard, inspiring women to join the war against fascism. Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a searing story of ordinary women and the advanced army they courageously opposed.
"A brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth. It's also compulsively readable. I devoured it in two days." -- Salman Rushdie
Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion's Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe and other publications. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places.
Free and open to the public. Sponsored by The Department of English & Creative Writing at Dartmouth. The bookstore will be on hand with books for purchase and signing.
With the threat of Mussolini's army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster's household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie's army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade.
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.