Sarah Harmer has a new disc out. Recently my wife Sarah has discovered her in our CD collection and has been listening to her a lot. I’ve enjoyed her for years, and I always look forward to her new albums.
This song is uptempo and catchy and could easily be a big hit. Her last album was more country/bluegrassey, but this song is pure rock (pop rock, but rock nonetheless).
The bridge of the song is a mysterious affair which adds a lot of personality to this bubbly track (with a fun chorus). I’m glad that Sarah has more songs out and that my Sarah will soon have more music to listen to.
[READ: August 4, 2010] “An Honest Exit”
Dinaw Mengestu is another of the New Yorker‘s 20 Under 40. This is the story of a University teacher. His father recently passed away and he feels compelled to talk about it to his class. So when class begins, he almost-accidentally tells them his father’s story.
Initially I was a little disappointed in the piece because, while his father’s life is horrifying and interesting, it seemed to fit squarly into my limited knowledge of what I knew about the situation: He was an engineer in Ethiopia but was reduced to nothing after attending a political rally. He walked across the country to Sudan in hopes of escape.
When he arrived in Sudan he was starving, desperate to find any kind of work. Finally, a man named Abrahim took pity on him and found him a job delivering hot tea to workers. Abrahim was like a benevolent dictator to him, helping him and plotting his escape to London; however, all the while the narrator’s father was very distrustful of him, always assuming the worst (and why shouldn’t he?).
So yes, this was an interesting story. And yet it sounded exactly like so many stories of refugees (yes, horrifying and unimaginable, and yet sadly not uncommon), that I didn’t expect to read anything that really stood out. But then the narrator throws a curve. His father’s degradation almost complete, there is only one way he can feel even remotely whole. And those last few paragraphs were incredibly powerful.
Again, I hate to sound like I was belittling anything that the father went through. I was just afraid it was going to be (and how to say this?) “yet another refugee” story, in which we see the horrors he went through and applaud his success. But Mengestu does much more than that; he brings an added amount of oomph to the story.
Mengestu’s Q&A is here.