All Our Names

All Our Names

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0345805666

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Named a best book of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Daily Beast

A sweeping, continent-spanning story about the love between men and women, between friends, and between citizens and their countries, All Our Names is a transfixing exploration of the relationships that define us. Fleeing war-torn Uganda for the American Midwest, Isaac begins a passionate affair with the social worker assigned to him. But the couple’s bond is inescapably darkened by the secrets of Isaac’s past: the country and the conflict he left behind and the beloved friend who changed the course of his life—and sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom. From acclaimed author Dinaw Mengestu, here is a love story for our time.

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if I looked over again at them I’d see them smiling. She was young, fresh out of high school. Had I been younger, I would have known who she was. She had a kind, round face and wore her dark-brown hair in a bun. She leaned over and whispered to us, “Bill wants to know if you would like to take your food with you.” She was doing her best to be kind. Isaac understood immediately what was happening, and, in the same breath, knew how to respond. Before I could answer, he told her, “No. We would

have found a shorter route.” “Not without another map,” I told him. We had nothing left. It hurt to speak—there was dust covering not only our bodies but our throats as well. Isaac pointed toward the house and tried to say something but decided it wasn’t worth the extra effort to do so. Half a block before we reached the front gate, two armed men emerged from a car parked a few feet in front of us. They were Joseph’s men, and Isaac raised his hand to wave to them. They stopped in front of their

both lying. “We have to leave this evening,” he said. He pointed to me. “That includes you as well.” I nodded my head, but only because I didn’t know what else to do. Joseph spent the rest of the afternoon sequestered in the living room; Isaac and I retreated to our familiar spot in the courtyard. “Do you know where we’re going?” I asked him. “To his father’s village,” he said. “He wants to liberate that first and then work his way back to the capital. They’re waiting for him already.”

story.” “And now?” “And now I think of you sleeping in your car. I think you’re fucked if you can’t say more, even if it’s only to me.” “You never gave me a straight answer about why you followed me when you thought I was going to see Isaac.” “I told you to use your imagination.” “I’ve asked you to do the same.” “What do you think would have happened if Denise knew you were having a relationship with Isaac?” “I don’t know.” “That’s not true. Of course you do. Denise would whisper to

said, he made no effort to stop me from going out. When I reached the balcony, I saw Joseph standing alone with what was left of his army surrounding him. I looked for his guards and saw them on the opposite side of the courtyard, talking among themselves; none of them were looking down. I turned around to look for Isaac, but he was in the room and wasn’t going to come out. Joseph was still dressed in his elegant suit; he hadn’t been harmed in the least; only his tie was slightly askew. I looked

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