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Notes from the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood

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Winner of the Governor General's Award
A Library Journal Best Book of 2001

Part autobiography and part social history, Nega Mezlekia's Notes from the Hyena's Belly offers an unforgettable portrait of Ethiopia, and of Africa, during the 1970s and '80s, an era of civil war, widespread famine, and mass execution.

We children lived like the donkey, Mezlekia remembers, careful not to wander off the beaten trail and end up in the hyena's belly. His memoir sheds light not only on the violence and disorder that beset his native country, but on the rich spiritual and cultural life of Ethiopia itself. Throughout, he portrays the careful divisions in dress, language, and culture between the Muslims and Christians of the Ethiopian landscape. Mezlekia also explores the struggle between western European interests and communist influences that caused the collapse of Ethiopia's social and political structure--and that forced him, at age 18, to join a guerrilla army. Through droughts, floods, imprisonment, and killing sprees at the hands of military juntas, Mezlekia survived, eventually emigrating to Canada. In Notes from the Hyena's Belly he bears witness to a time and place that few Westerners have understood.


ISBN-13: 9780312289140

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: St. Martins Press-3PL

Publication Date: 01-05-2002

Pages: 368

Product Dimensions: 8.50h x 5.50w x 1.00d

Nega Mezlekia is the author of Notes from the Hyena's Belly, winner of the Governor General's Award, and a novel, The God Who Begat a Jackal. He left Ethiopia in 1983 and is now an engineer living in Toronto.