Ash from the Eyjafjallajökul volcano fills the skies. Flights are grounded throughout Europe. Dessie, a cosmopolitan flight attendant from Canada, finds herself stranded in Addis Ababa — her birth place.
Grieving her mother’s recent death, Dessie heads to see her grandfather, the Shaleqa — compelled as much by duty as her own will. But Dessie’s conflicted past stands in her way. Just as the volcano’s eruption disordered Dessie’s work life, so too does her mother’s death cause seismic disruptions in the fine balance of self-deceptions and false histories that uphold her family.
As Dessie reacquaints herself with her grandfather’s house, familiar yet strangely alien to her diasporic sensibilities, she pieces together the family secrets: the trauma of dictatorship and civil war, the shame of unwed motherhood, the abuse met with silence that gives shape to the mystery of her mother’s life.
- Find out why I wrote the novel & why Goose Lane Editions acquired it.
- Read or listen to an audio of an excerpt.
- Or enjoy these videos! The first is a reading I did of the latest draft of that excerpt at the 14.4th edition of the Draft Reading Series in Toronto, on March 10, 2019. The second is an interview from Dec 2015, during an earlier phase of the writing of the manuscript.