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Notes from the Hyena's belly : an Ethiopian boyhood

by Mezlekia, Nega, 1958-

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - East Liberty Non-Fiction Collection DT390.J54 M48 2001
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  DT390.J54 M48 2001
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction DT390.J54 M48 2001
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  DT390.J54 M48 2001
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 92 MEZLEKIA
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  92 MEZLEKIA
In this acclaimed memoir, Mezlekia recalls his boyhood in the arid city of Jijiga, Ethiopia, and his journey to manhood during the 1970s and 1980s. He traces his personal evolution from child to soldier - forced at the age of eighteen to join a guerrilla army. And he describes the hardships that consumed Ethiopia after the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie and the rise to power of the communist junta, in whose terror thousands of Ethiopians died. Part autobiography and part social history, Notes from the Hyena's Belly offers an unforgettable portrait of Ethiopia, and of Africa, during the defining and turbulent years of the last century.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In telling his life story, Mezlekia describes in rich detail the turmoil and upheaval of Ethiopia after the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie and the rise of a communist junta and its "Red Terror." He recalls an early childhood full of stories and myths, with which he salts his accounting of biographical and historical specifics. As he matured and realized the injustices of Ethiopia's feudalism, he joined youth rebellions seeking reform. At 18 he was forced to join a guerrilla army as the social and political structure of Ethiopia collapsed in a struggle between western European interests and communist influence. Hungry for reform, he was disillusioned with a communist rhetoric that was accompanied by only slight change in the status of the downtrodden. Corruption was rampant, even as the general population faced famine, political unrest, economic chaos, and terrorism. Mezlekia left Ethiopia in 1983 and eventually emigrated to Canada. A stunning depiction of Ethiopia's current culture and coflict. --Vanessa Bush"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: ""Hyenas are the most common, notorious predators in Ethiopia," notes Mezlekia, thus their power in local myth and as a metaphor for the forces that have torn Ethiopia apart in recent decades. This lyrical memoir of an Ethiopian childhood echoes both the myth and the violence of the hyena. In the first third of his literary debut, Mezlekia intersperses accounts of his mischievous, rebellious childhood with the magical tales told by his family to interpret various experiences: magic and spirits were part of everyday life for young Mezlekia. He also carefully delineates the customs of and relations between the Christian and Muslim communities in his hometown of Jijiga. (Mezlekia's mother, though a Christian, took her son to a Muslim medicine man to cleanse him following a series of boyish escapades.) But a third of the way through the text, the material world supplants the world of the spirit and innocence that governed Mezlekia's early childhoodÄsocial and political upheaval ruled Ethiopian life in the late 1970s and '80s. At times, Mezlekia, who now lives in Canada, does not clearly describe the various factions that wrestled for power when he was a teenager and college student. But he treats the chaos and famine that enveloped his country with seriousness and styleÄ"The revolution was eating Ethiopian children at an alarming rate"Äand even while recounting famine and war, he never loses the wit that no doubt helped him to survive some of the worst humanity has to offer. (Jan.) Forecast: This lovely and terrible memoir will undoubtedly be well reviewed and thus reach readers interested not only in the fate of Africa but also in a lyrical account of a foreign childhood. There is an author tour planned. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Mezlekia, Nega, -- 1958- -- Childhood and youth.
Jijiga (Ethiopia) -- Biography.
Ethiopia -- History -- 1974-
Publisher New York :Picador USA,2001
Edition 1st Picador USA ed.
Language English
Notes Reprint. Originally published: Toronto : Penguin, 2000.
Description x, 355 pages : map ; 22 cm
ISBN 0312269889
0312289146 (pbk)
Other Classic View