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Tower in the Sky.
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By Hiwot Teffera. This book belongs to a newly emerging genre of memoir that relives the trauma of Ethiopia's revolution and the era of the Derg The era included both the initial blush of optimism on the downfall of the imperial government of Haile Sellassie I, but also the nightmare of the Red Terror that rent Ethiopia's social and political fabric in the late s and early s.
We now have a growing body of fiction on that experience, but also autobiographical writing that more closely chronicles the first-person, subjective experiences of individuals who found their way to the diaspora or who stayed to live their lives anew and now reflect on their own emotions of fear, the exhilaration about new times, or ambivalence about violent change.
Tower in the Sky is the memoir of the author, an urban, middle class young woman who reached her adolescence in the early years of the revolution, joined the optimistic activism of the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Party EPRPand then joined many of her generation in the prison system. Her story takes us from her arrival at Haile Sellassie I University in to her release from prison in The narrative includes her building of social networks among fellow students, furtive visits to the "kissing pool" on campus, joining of the activist networks in the university, her love affair with a EPRP intellectual, and her work as a EPRP courier in the heady months between the fall of the imperial government and the rise of the Derg's iron fist.
The journey she describes takes the reader from the Marxist idealism of the student movement to the struggles of her imprisonment.
This book stands in sharp contrast to the new body of fiction like Abraham Verghese's remarkable Cutting for Stone, or Dinaw Mengistu's The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, which frame fictional lives in the turmoil of Ethiopia's modern politics and struggles of life in the diaspora.
Tower in the Sky never leaves Ethiopia's cities though the author now writes from Canada or the author's social class. She does not try to offer an expansive view of social change.
Tower in the Sky
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Read preview Overview. Vestal Praeger, Nelson; Irving Kaplan Dept. Addis Ababa The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Ethiopia The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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