A powerful debut novel that takes place in Ethiopia in the early 1970's. Beneath The Lion's Gaze is the story of family loyalty, freedom and revolution in a very difficult period in history. The emotion and tragedy in this book will leave you with a heavy heart. — Liz Barnum
This moving portrayal of a family negotiating the stormy waters of revolutionary Ethiopia is a must read. Mengiste's characters don't seem fictitious at all. Their love, loyalty, heartbreak, and fiery vigilance make for a truly compelling story of war. — Nancy Scheemaker
“Beneath the Lion's Gaze is a riveting novel focused on the primacy of family relationships against the violent backdrop of Ethiopia's 1974 Revolution. Hailu, a prominent doctor, and his two grown sons experience their country's tragedy and their own family's grief through very different prisms of understanding, yet they remain connected even through the gruesome terror overtaking their city. Very hard to put down!”
— Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA
"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.