Maaza Mengiste and her “lyrical song of war”

Throughout history, certain narratives – especially those pertaining to women and minority groups – have largely remain unseen and unexplored by literature. Synthesizing a compelling narrative through extensive research with impeccable writing, Maaza Mengiste combines gripping story about war – described as a “lyrical song of war” by Namwali Serpell of the New York Times – and a moving account of the feminine struggle in early 20th century Ethiopia, revealing the unsung heroism of women soldiers that were left out of African and European history. Mengiste herself states how women’s role on the battlefield became central in her novel: “in my research, I started finding out that women were also in the front lines – that completely changed the book for me.” 

Ultimately, her novel is a fantastic intermarriage of a feminist tale and a classic war-torn novel. The historically accurate elements of Ethiopian culture pull the reader in, both educating and enthralling the reader at the same time. If it weren’t for Mengiste, these unique perspectives would likely never be pushed out to the public; they would remain hidden in the shadows.

Joe, Dan, Hunter

This entry was posted in 2020 Booker Short List novels, English IV Honors, Literature Circles aka #litcircles and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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