Book Review: How to Read the Air

Last week, I covered the brilliantly written book, How to Read the Air, by Dinaw Mengestu. I’ve since finished the novel, and I’m not sure how to describe the task of reading the end of the novel. I was left a little sad and slightly lost.

When reading Mengestu’s work, you fall into this rabbit-hole of dreams and creativity and imagination. Constantly his main character Jonas, created a world outside his own and the experience of reading this alone was mildly addicting. The reader can’t help but to envy Jonas’s mind. But when it came time to end the novel, it ended exactly as a suspected it would. A simple slow down of conflict, a conclusion of relationships and what we could call closure from his parent’s nagging misfortunes from before his time.

The ending occurred and I struggled to configure how I felt about the finality of the book. With all the imagination of Mengestu’s characters I built up the ending, with hopes of creativity; a grand flourishing escape into a brand new adventure or a stunning reveal of hidden truths that were hinted to all along, but no reader had caught on to. Neither prevailed.

What conclusion did get written was reliable, expected and comfortable, which is both irritating and completely understandable.

Front Cover

For next week, I’ve started reading Andrew’s Brain, by E. L. Doctorow, a fresh new release that I can’t wait to start!

 

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