Inspiration: The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

Just finished reading this wonderful, melancholic book by Dinaw Mengestu about an Ethiopian immigrant gliding through life running a decaying corner store in a gentrifying neighborhood of D.C., selling chips and gum to blacks and bottled water to whites, while entertaining his enchanted neighbor, a half African half American little girl.

The book is sprinkled with literary and historical references to show perhaps that even the little stories down our block have great meaning and also fit into the histories of what America and Africa have been and continue to be, marked by arrivals on one end and departures on the other.

It also explores the very interesting terrain of a love story that almost was between the narrator, the dreaming shopkeeper and the girl's American mother, a professor in the middle of yet another midlife crisis.

It is also a story about a perpetual reader and escapist who seemingly does not wish to disturb the many worlds he crosses, but finds himself near the center of conflict between developers working for the wealthy and repeatedly uprooted people getting severed once again due to economic inferiority, played out on a micro level.

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