Richard Dowden

Over the Mountains and Far Away

The Chains of Heaven: An Ethiopian Romance

By

HarperCollins 298pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

This is the land where the 1984 famine took place – the famine ‘of biblical proportions’, the phrase that Michael Buerk used to jab the suffering into our souls. It was a resonant allusion. We know this place. Almost every year since then the television cameras have been back to remind us, panning across the vast, harsh landscape of barren mountains, thatched huts and meagre fields. And we know Ethiopians too. Wiry little people dressed in white garments, with wrinkled faces and dark, patient eyes, tending their goats and sheep and hacking the soil with mattocks or ploughing with oxen. That is how Moses, Isaac and Jacob lived, and Ethiopians knew those names before they were known in most of Europe. Biblical is the word. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,
    • RT : Joanna Kavenna’s ‘Cooking with Trotsky’s Frying Pan’ in June’s is the most well written and interesting… ,