47 pages 1 hour read

Dinaw Mengestu

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2007

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Essay Topics


Mengestu explains the significance of a quote from Dante’s Inferno, from which the book draws its name, to Sepha’s friend Joseph. But what do you think the significance of the novel’s title is to Sepha?


The novel is set in Logan Square, a neighborhood of Washington, DC. What is the significance of this particular setting? How would the narrative change if it were in a different neighborhood or city?


At the end of the novel, why does Sepha say that his store looks “more perfect” than it ever has before? How has the store changed, and how has Sepha’s perspective merely changed?