Natalie’s review of “Virgins always bleed”

This was a treat to read.

This author has the feel of a modern, Ethiopian Jane Austen. The storytelling is witty and sardonic. It is deeply sincere, and almost eager in moments. The plot is grounded in nitty gritty of real life: the minutiae of family life, petty social interactions, overbearing aunties, important shit that happens at bus stops. As the author describes it, it is “A ‘culturally dense’ love story (between a man and a woman, between a woman and her community, between a country and its people) back when men wrote love letters and women could not accept a stick of gum without questioning its implication.”

But then the story moves past the point where we left off Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, and this is where it begins to feel like The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. It is comprehensively, indulgently obsessed with the inner life of the female protagonist, letting the reader really live in her head and heart and body. I connected to soooooo much of it as a person who was once deeply religious and had to navigate the absolute minefield of dating and physical intimacy with all the voices of religion and society shouting over my own thoughts and opinions. I love writers that can use very specific characters and context to talk about universal experiences. Tilahun does that masterfully.

And the experience that she tells is a TRUE one. None of the glamour and enchantment of a fairy tale, but the reality of romance being all tangled up in culture and patriarchy and violence. These pages give us the inner dialogue of countless women who have stayed with a guy who mistreats or abuses her, who wonder if they should leave, why they are staying, why they let the bad behavior get under their skin.

Why indeed when she knows she’d take what he said, bury it somewhere she can’t revisit it, and continue to be with him.

Read more: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3713472481

May 11, 2021 at 9:59 am Leave a comment

Year 12: The year of no small things

No longer dying in hundreds.
No longer killing in hundreds.
No longer small clashes between neighbouring tribes.

Instead..
Millions. Tribalism. Cessation.

I keep being asked, by those who can’t point out my country on the map: “Which ethnic group are you from?”, “How bad is it over there?”, “You must feel lucky for having escaped with your life, huh?”.

And it pisses me off. It makes me angry that white people are differentiating between Amhara, Oromo and Tigre Ethiopians. It pisses me off that the word “genocide” is being thrown about lightly. It really grieves me that Ethiopians are bad-mouthing the motherland on the internet and to foreigners, thereby tearing a “ሰበዝ” from the ድክሞ ሳር ቤት we call “Emmama Ethiopia”; that they are sowing seeds of contention through flags/protests/messages/tweets for the sake of not letting posts go uncommented upon. That Facebook is no longer a gathering place for fucking idiots/dumb fucks/ከንቱ…አራሙቻ…ጭቃ humans, but deadly ones.

ስምንተኛው ሺህ?

አርጎት ነው??

May those who love us, love us;
And for those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May He turn their [fingers and] ankles,
So we will know them by their limping
.

🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹

🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹 ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር 🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹

🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹🇪🇹

April 29, 2021 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

When Liya met money

To her “accomplished”ness supermodel, actress, designer and maternal health advocate, Liya Kebede:

No, Madam, “lemlem” is not the Amharic word for “to bloom” or “to flourish” as you’ve been telling everyone you met. It means, at best, “greenery,” “scenic,” or “fresh” as in “ነዳዩ በምጽዋት ካገኘው ለምለም እንጀራ መካከል ፀጉርና ሳር መቀየጡ ቅር ቢያሰኘውም…”፣ ወዘተ; at worst “fertile” [my best friend, and writer of “Virgins Always Bleed“, is always being asked how many kids she has every time she mentioned that tidbit to foreigners].

It would have been nice if you did your homework, or hired a consultant, or had the humility to ask around before throwing a word out into the fucking idiotic Western hemispher [and letting it stick]. Now that you have, and ruined the meaning of the word for the rest of us, do you have the decency to set things right? Or, at least, change your brand name to the Amharic word you were thinking of when you came up with “ለምለም”: “ማበብ,” “መለምለም,” or “በድሆች ጀርባ ላይ ተንጠላጥሎ መበልፀግ”?!

[If you refused to do this, all the money you made off the wrongly translated word shall be forfeited and you will be sent back to The Runway to make a meager income of hundreds of thousand dollars less a year. Yes, that means no hobnobbing with Jake Gyllenhaal, either].

[Do I sound catty and a tad jelly? So maybe I am. Not all of us are lucky enough to be born in a family like hers, with a face and body like hers, go to the school she did with the family connections she had before she was able to make something of it and be praised as if it was all on her!]

On a serious note, don’t you wish the people whose birth, wealth, beauty endowed them with the right to stand in front of the world in our names had the curiosity God gave a cat to check their facts before running their mouth? [Looking @ you and your comments about Ethiopian women not being allowed to sing in churches, Gigi. So what if it was a slip of the tongue, a very stupid/self-serving/insulting slip of the tongue, from zillions of years ago?! And what if, it appears, you did everything to make up for it including, but not limited to, marrying a guy decades your senior to advance your career and putting Ethiopian Music on the map? የወጋ ቢረሳ የተወጋ አይረሳም! Speaking of stabbing people in the back, do you see Aster Aweke these days?].

April 22, 2021 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

ትግራይ…

December 10, 2020 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

“Ethiopian” American writers

December 9, 2020 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Warning!

The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

Life quote:

"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

Recent Posts

Books by Ethiopian Writers

Debut

Favorite books

My Favorite Podcasts

ሙዚቃ [Ethiopian Music]

Some classic Some modernish And some Yirdaw... When I need a ringtone When I feel nostalgic When I need poetry

Free & Abridged Audiobooks

Browse

June 2021
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Funny and brilliant tweets

Member of The Internet Defense League