!Kindle ⚇ The Wifes Tale ⚕ In This Indelible Memoir That Recalls The Life Of Her Remarkable Ninety Five Year Old Grandmother, Guardian Journalist Aida Edemariam Tells The Story Of Modern Ethiopia A Nation That Would Undergo A Tumultuous Transformation From Feudalism To Monarchy To Marxist Revolution To Democracy, Over The Course Of One CenturyBorn In The Northern Ethiopian City Of Gondar In About , Yetemegnu Was Married And Had Given Birth Before She Turned Fifteen As The Daughter Of A Socially Prominent Man, She Also Offered Her Husband, A Poor Yet Gifted Student, The Opportunity To Become An Important Religious LeaderOver The Next Decades Yetemegnu Would Endure Extraordinary Trials The Death Of Some Of Her Children Her Husband S Imprisonment And The Detention Of One Of Her Sons She Witnessed The Fascist Invasion Of Ethiopia And The Subsequent Resistance, Suffered Allied Bombardment And Exile From Her City Lived Through A Bloody Revolution And The Nationalization Of Her Land She Gained Audiences With Emperor Haile Selassie I To Argue For Justice For Her Husband, For Revenge, And For Her Children S Security, And Fought Court Battles To Defend Her Assets Against Powerful Men But Sustained, In Part, By Her Fierce Belief In The Virgin Mary And In Orthodox Christianity, Yetemegnu Survived She Even Learned To Read, In Her Sixties, And Eventually Made A Pilgrimage To JerusalemTold In Yetemegnu S Enthralling Voice And Filled With A Vivid Cast Of Characters Emperors And Empresses, Priests And Scholars, Monks And Nuns, Archbishops And Slaves, Marxist Revolutionaries And Wartime Double Agents The Wife S Tale Introduces A Woman Both Imperious And Vulnerable A Mother, Widow, And Businesswoman Whose Deep Faith And Numerous Travails Never Quashed Her Love Of Laughter, Mischief And Dancing A Fighter Whose Life Was Shaped By Direct Contact With The Volatile Events That Transformed Her NationAn Intimate Memoir That Offers A Panoramic View Of Ethiopia S Recent History, The Wife S Tale Takes Us Deep Into The Landscape, Rituals, Social Classes, And Culture Of This Ancient, Often Mischaracterized, Richly Complex, And Unforgettable Land And Into The Heart Of One Indomitable Woman
I think the best advice to a potential reader is to skip to the back of the book and look at the glossary and the timeline For some reason the publisher decided to put this information at the back of the book instead of up with the map at the beginning in the book and it s to the books detriment After being constantly confused during the reading I did not encounter the glossary or the timeline until after I finished the book.As other reviewers have stated, the book was in need of a family tree also The story itself I found a be a fascinating, complex piece of History and culture I thought the author also did a very good job of portraying the main characters personality and documenting the huge cultural changes What a tribute to her grandmother Not an easy read, but worth trying to read. This is a bit different type of memoir biography The author tells the story of her grandmother, Yetemegnu Mekonnen, who was born in Goudar, Ethiopia in 1916 She was married at age eight to a man who was almost thirty years of age Edemanam s writing is in a beautiful rhythmic prose The description of the country, superstitions, and customs of early twentieth century Ethiopia is superb I almost felt as if I was there during the Italian invasion Toward the end of the book, she told of the moment that the chicken scratch in the book became understandable words as she was learning to read absolutely fascinated me I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is almost ten hours Adjoa Andoh does an absolutely fantastic job narrating this book It is her narration of the book that brought the story to life I do not think the book would be as meaningful by my reading it Andoh did the Ethiopian women yell which I could never do even in my mind Andoh is a British actress and voice over artist She is also an Earphone Award winning audiobook narrator. A chilling account of life in Ethiopia I found it hard to follow and understand in places but overall a very interesting book.I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. For anyone unfamiliar with the 20th century history of Ethiopia, this is a wonderful and mind broadening introduction The prime focus of the book is Yetemegnu, who we are first introduced to on the day she is married off, at eight, to a man two decades her senior Yetemegnu s life encompassed most of the last century, and she was regularly caught up in the various turmoils her country went through The author is one of her granddaughters, and she has spent many years recording the stories her grandmother told, as well as learning from other members of her family what it was like to live through those decades Ethiopia and her citizens often seem worlds apart from anything we know, but humans are humans wherever they live, and the emotional life of Yetemegnu pours through the book Too emotional, perhaps, for some Westerners Her love is deep for her many children and grandchildren, though it s not always reciprocated in equal terms Her love is even stronger for her husband, in spite of the occasional beatings he gives her, or his long absences he is a priest whose career rises in status as he grows older , or even his treatment of her as his much favoured child For much of the first part of the book the reader feels there is little love between the two, but our feelings are wrong Woven into Yetemegnu s story are the traditions and beliefs of the people Christianity is their religion but it s an unfamiliar form of it Mary is the main focus, and Jesus is seldom mentioned The book is full of the wonder of food spices are lovingly listed, meals described in detail, along with the courtesies that should be observed at mealtimes, especially with guests The constant need to prepare food informs the daily rhythms of these people s lives Then there is the wondrous Ethiopian natural landscape, which has a blazing and sometimes terrifying life of its own Edemariam often requires the reader to make unexpected leaps from one paragraph to the next, and there are a number of side paths taken that add to the flavour of the book, though not always to its immediate comprehensibility It might also have been helpful to have a list of the most prominent people in the story as the Ethiopian names aren t always easy to remember Nevertheless, Edemariam s extensive research, and the ease with which she writes about a country that she personally knew only in the latter part of the 20th century, makes this a remarkable read. I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways and have chosen to give my honest opinion about it.While definitely a touching story it almost seems like an overdone and cliched one While I do recognize that this was the recounting of a true story, it seems as if it could have been better written the writing style was confusing for instance, it was hard to distinguish from the narrator and from her own thoughts That being said, the events in this book are definitely inspiring and sometimes bittersweet, which is refreshing amidst the sea of other contemporary true stories. I was really looking forward to reading this book when I won it through GoodReads I began reading the book and it was incredibly hard to even get through about 40 pages I could not seem to follow the story It seemed to jump all over the place I finally just gave up as the book seemed to make no sense whatsoever Really disappointed Definitely will not be recommending this book to anyone. A ring was threaded onto her third finger, another onto the man s It would be years before she understood what she had promisedThe Wife s Tale, a personal history, is the story of one woman s life growing up and growing old in her native home of Ethiopia Written by Aida Edemariam, she recalls the stories that her grandmother, Yetemegnu, passed on to her about her life and the incredible changes she witnessed in her country.Published by 4th Estate, The Wife s Tale, is a tribute to Yetemegnu, a woman of great strength who survived wars and occupations.I ve been reading non fiction recently and when I received a copy of The Wife s Tale earlier this year I knew it was a book that I wanted to make time for There is something about a memoir that always invokes a feeling of immersion into somebody else s life As a reader you go on a journey through the thoughts and feelings of a stranger It s quite an honour to be able to do that and such is the case with Yetemegnu.Married off before she even reached puberty, Yetemegnu was oblivious to what was happening The man her family had chosen for her was a cleric, a man of the cloth, a man who had ambitions and hopes for his country, Ethiopia and their home city of Gondar Yetemegnu was brought to his home, where she was treated with respect but was unable to partake in childish activities She was there to learn how to cook, how to look after her husband, how to be a wife Due to her position, she was unable to play with the local children, isolating her and creating a loneliness in the heart of one so young.As the years passed, she witnessed changes in her country through wars, invasions and exile As her husband s voice got louder, his position in society grew, making their home a very busy one, where Yetemegnu cooked and provided for the many visitors that called.We witness her difficulties in childbirth, each taking something of her away Losing some her children caused her great sorrow and she ofttimes suffered from a malady, where her body felt inhabited by a spiritual being, the zar When the zar was present, Yetemegnu s family knew the signs She would fall under the control of this possessive being, resulting in quite a terrifying experience for all involved.As the years passed Yetemegnu s family grew With the Western world encroaching on their lives, we see the transition and changes Ethiopia suffered famine, followed by a terrible hardship for it s people Her husband was arrested and remained incarcerated for quite some time Yetemegnu fought for his release, which eventually did come, but he arrived home an unwell man.Her children grew up and moved away As much as she tried to keep them safe, with her at all times, eventually she had to acquiesce and watch them fly the coop.Yetemegnu s story is written by her grand daughter, a journalist, who was born in Ethiopia but lived a very different life to that of her grandmother Aida Edermariam has very clear recollections of Yetemegnu, a story she felt she world needed to read about The story begins in 1916 and is divided into five sections, taking the reader right up to 1989 Within these sections, the reader is introduced to the many difficulties and happy moments of Yetemegnu s life, alongside the monumental changes of a society and how it coped.The narrative to The Wife s Tale can be quite difficult to follow at times, as it is the voice of Yetemegnu we are hearing Also there are numerous words and tribal associations that did create a little confusion for me Aida Edemariam does include a glossary of terms and a chronology of important historical dates at the back of the book, which I do feel were very necessary.The Wife s Tale is a personal history of a very strong, brave and determined woman Yetemegnu s courage and conviction shines through from the pages As mentioned previously it can a little hard to get to complete grips with her story at times, but this could also be down to my lack of knowledge about a country that has seen such upheaval and experienced so many transformations.An interesting and informative tale It is a book I am glad I took the time to read. The twentieth century history of Ethiopia is told here by the author through the remarkable life of her paternal grandmother, Yetemegnu, to whom this book is also a personal tribute Although a biography rather than a memoir, the author attempts to tell the story through her grandmother s eyes.Yetemegnu was born in 1916 and died in 2013 She was married at the age of eight you read that right to a priest who was 22 years older than her, and had the first of her 9 children at the age of 14 a tenth pregnancy miscarried She was born into a feudal, slave owning society that had hardly changed in centuries, and over the course of her long life witnessed the Italian invasion of the 1930s, the expulsion of the Italians in 1941, the overthrow of the Emperor Haile Selassie and the Red Terror that followed, as well as the Great Famine of 1984 85 It probably helps if you know something of the country s history before reading this, but if not there is a timeline at the back of the book, along with a glossary of Amharic words and phrases used in the text.I thought the opening 100 pages or so were really good, but the narrative seemed to lose a bit of impetus after that Yetemegnu was a very religious woman, and and the text delved into dreams, visions and spirit possession, as well as descriptions of years of litigation around her husband s estate We do get a sense of Ethiopian Christianity, which seems to or at least, did occupy a central part in the lives of the majority of the population, and which involves a level of absolute devotion rarely seen in Western countries these days The book closes with a very fitting salute from the author Yetemegnu was certainly a woman with very great reserves of strength and resilience. 3 1 2 stars This book contains some beautiful prose and some striking glimpses into the domestic life of Edemariam s grandmother, Yetemegnu, her life encompassed the 20th century and all its turbulence in Ethiopia.My prior knowledge of Ethiopia, its geography, history and people was limited to a vague awareness of coups, civil wars, drought and famine This book has given me a much greater understanding of alternative perspectives A country with an abundance of produce, deeply rooted Christian beliefs entwined with myths and the spirit world and a strong sense of family pride.While I could picture the daily vistas and could, to some extent, follow the broad brushstrokes of her history I struggled to understand the unfolding political events and the interactions she had with the religious and political figures with whom she met The oblique illusory descriptions of these events made it hard to follow what was actually happening The time line was also very general and sometimes I felt like it wasn t chronological or was backtracking to an earlier event.Yetemegnu developed from a young vulnerable girl into a woman she fought to provide for and protect her children despite her illiteracy and lack of position in a male dominated society I felt confused about her relationship with her husband, who was clearly abusive and controlling, but for whom she risked a great deal to seek support and obtain his release from prison About half way through I nearly gave up Unfamiliar names, dates and events were a little jumbled in my mind but I persevered and found the second half where the author s parents enter the story as adults a lot easier to follow I think this book would benefit from a short forward giving some context of Ethiopian history to which I could have grounded this story.