Lost and found identities in Dinaw Mengestu’s ‘All Our Names’

Dinaw Mengestu

PBS Newshour

By Victoria Fleischer, May 14, 2014-

 Dinaw Mengestu talks about his new novel “All Our Names,” which narrates the story of a young black man who comes of age in post-colonial Africa and the young white woman who meets and falls in love with him in a small Midwest American town. Mengestu spoke to chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about lost and found identities and a collision of worlds.

Life in post-colonial Africa and the civil rights era in the United States aren’t typically compared, but Dinaw Mengestu, author of the new novel “All Our Names,” saw those moments in history as an echo of each other.

“We tend to think of what happens in post-colonial Africa as very distinct from what happens in the U.S., but when I began to put those narratives side by side, I thought, well, after the end of colonialism we had something similar in America,” Mengetsu told chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown.

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