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Maaza Mengiste

Forfatter af The Shadow King

7+ Works 1,200 Members 78 Reviews

Om forfatteren

Omfatter også følgende navne: Maaza Mengiste, Maaza Menngiste

Image credit: Maaza Mengiste at BookExpo at the Javits Center in New York City, May 2019. By Rhododendrites - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79387571

Værker af Maaza Mengiste

The Shadow King (2019) 701 eksemplarer
Beneath the Lion's Gaze (2010) 451 eksemplarer
Addis Ababa Noir (2020) — Redaktør — 37 eksemplarer
When we see us : a century of black figuration in painting (2023) — Forfatter — 8 eksemplarer
O Rei-Sombra 1 eksemplar
Umbra regelui 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (2018) — Bidragyder — 152 eksemplarer
The Granta Book of the African Short Story (2011) — Bidragyder — 92 eksemplarer
A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors (2015) — Bidragyder — 12 eksemplarer

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Ho voluto leggere questo romanzo dal momento in cui ho letto le citazioni postate dall’account Twitter di Einaudi in occasione della sua pubblicazione in Italia. Adesso che l’ho letto, però, quasi ne sono pentita, non tanto per la storia raccontata, quanto piuttosto per lo stile dell’autrice, che non mi è proprio andato giù e mi ha annoiato a morte durante la lettura.

Il mio problema è stato che da un romanzo storico mi aspetto uno stile più asciutto e interessato a farsi da parte in favore degli eventi narrati. Mengiste, invece, ha fatto l’esatto contrario, infiorettando la sua prosa con una retorica che per me ha finito anche per inficiarne il realismo in alcuni punti. Mi è sembrata quindi una scelta decisamente infelice e mi ha reso la lettura così faticosa da essere quasi respingente.

Il dispiacere è ancora più grande se penso al fatto che la storia è raccontata in modo da sottolinare il ruolo delle donne etiopi nella resistenza all’invasione dell’esercito fascista e che abbiamo tanto bisogno di leggere e diffondere queste storie, così a lungo ignorate. Il dispiacere è ancora più grande se penso a come esce distorto questo punto di vista dallo stile di Mengiste, che a momenti sembra quasi morbosa nel descrivere le violenze perpetrate ai danni delle donne etipi. Ovviamente non metto in dubbio che siano avvenute, ma Mengiste non dà l’idea di volerle semplicemente raccontare, ma di voler indugiare sui dettagli.

Un altro elemento rovinato è stata la presenza di Ettore, un personaggio che intende mostrare la non assolutezza del ruolo di vittima e carnefice: una sola persona può essere entrambi in circostanze e ambiti diversi. Ettore è ebreo ed è ovviamente una vittima dell’antisemitismo del governo fascista; allo stesso tempo, però, è il fotografo dell’esercito e il carnefice che immortala la violenza dei commilitoni. In lui i due ruoli si mescolano e a volte è difficile scinderli del tutto: peccato che – di nuovo! – lo stile di Mengiste renda questo conflitto torbido e ne depotenzi la capacità di turbare lǝ lettorǝ.

Se avete letto questo romanzo, fatemi sapere come vi è sembrato e se sono solo io a essere troppo stucca con questi stili troppo altisonanti.
… (mere)
lasiepedimore | 32 andre anmeldelser | Jan 17, 2024 |
Could not stay with it. Well written, but confusing for post-modern rather than narrative reasons. Could not get absorbed enough to stick with it. I should note, trying to read in October of 2020 is difficult.
BookyMaven | 32 andre anmeldelser | Dec 6, 2023 |
CW: this book contains violence, including of a sexual nature.

I first fell in love with the gorgeous art work of the cover for The Shadow King while browsing NetGalley, but I knew I HAD to read this book after looking at the blurb. Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia during WWII is afforded very little (if any) space in history text books around the world, but as an Italian woman, I was even more aware of really how little I knew of this chapter in history.

The Shadow King is, of course, not a history book, but, being based on the author's own family history and extensive research, it provides a snapshot of life in a country at war. Following both the Ethiopian and the Italian armies, The Shadow King features an impressive cast of unforgettable characters. I was very impressed at how well most of these were painted, as almost every character, even the ones we meet only a few times, felt complex and real. The book avoided falling in the good people/bad people trap, showing time and again how light and dark, cruelty and kindness can co-exist within each individual.

The pacing was slightly uneven, with some sections being rather action-packed, and others moving much more slowly. Normally, this would bother me quite a bit, but for some reason it just seemed to work here. I also really liked the author's style. The prose was beautiful and often lyrical, although it felt slightly overbearing at times and occasionally made for some very confusing sentences. In particular, the lack of conventional punctuation and the absence of quotation marks to introduce dialogues (think Saramago) definitely needed some getting used to, and may be off-putting to some readers.

The one thing that made this stop short of a 5-star rating for me was the fact that, for a book wanting to focus on the forgotten contribution of women in war, there really weren't that many women in the main cast. Hirut and Aster were really the only fully-fleshed out female warriors, while we were introduced to numerous male fighters in Kidane's camp. While I loved getting to know Hirut and Aster, exploring their complexities and their backgrounds, I would have definitely preferred to see more of other female characters, such as Fifi or any of the numerous unnamed women in Kidane's army.

Overall, this was a very interesting read, tackling a lesser-known side of history with grace. I will definitely be on the look-out for more of Maaza Mengiste's work!

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (mere)
bookforthought | 32 andre anmeldelser | Nov 7, 2023 |
This is an important and ambitious story. I wanted to love it, but I just kind of liked it. The pacing is off. The prose is overly ornate and though at times very moving, it mostly just obscured the message.

But the killer is the formatting. The formatting makes this book absolutely miserable. There are no quotation marks, making it impossible to tell if something was said or only thought and especially difficult to distinguish when multiple speakers were in dialogue. Worse - the point of view shifts between characters with no clue to the reader, sometimes in the middle of a paragraph. I had to reread a lot to try to get a grip on the story.

2.5 stars
… (mere)
KristinDiBum | 32 andre anmeldelser | Jul 21, 2023 |



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