All Our Names

Publisher: Anchor Canada
"A fierce and tender examination of identity, love, disillusionment, friendship and sacrifice. . . . Extraordinary." National Post
     All Our Names is the story of a young man who comes of age during an African revolution, drawn from the hushed halls of his university into the intensifying clamour of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, and the path of revolution leads to almost certain destruction, he leaves behind his country and friends for America. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into the routines of small-town life. Yet this idyll is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom.
     Subtle, intelligent, and quietly devastating, All Our Names is a novel about identity, about the names we are given and the names we earn. The emotional power of Mengestu's work is indelible.


Praise for All Our Names:

   • "All Our Names injects a refreshing novelty to 'the novel' as an artifact of experience. Two worlds and perspectives, severed by time and irreconcilable personal histories, are pitted side-by-side, revealing the fragile strands that together make up a life." The Globe and Mail 

   • "Mengestu, who seems to have been born knowing how to play with time in a novel . . . manages to make race and questions of racial identity the unifying threads tying these two very different love stories together. . . . It is a story about finding out who you are, about how much of you is formed by your family and your homeland, and what happens when those things go up in smoke. . . . The victories in this beautiful novel are hard fought and hard won, but won they are, and they are durable." The New York Times