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“This is a gripping story, well-told.”

—Sheger FM Radio 102.1. April 28, 2020, Addis Ababa

Book cover for Lucy's People: An Ethiopian Memoir by Mesfin Tadesse 2021
© Yerada Lij Australia 2021

Lucy’s People Review

Humming with heartfelt energy, Mesfin Tadesse’s memoirs span a transformative and troubled era. Bright and charismatic, Mesfin cuts his teeth under the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I. In horror, he watches the communist Derg coup of 1974, and, alongside his compatriots, struggles to endure the ensuing atrocities. As a headstrong young man, Mesfin must not merely survive, but must do so without compromising his convictions or his love of Ethiopia. 

Engaging to the last, Lucy’s People runs the gamut of human emotion. It strikes the tone of an affectionate elegy, such that it feels, at one moment, warmly descriptive, and at yet another, quietly indignant. In this manner, it weaves between the personal and the political: a feat widely accomplished with playful, acerbic wit. Readers can expect an appetising dose of flavourful detail, but without fear of excessive nostalgia or sentimentality. The storytelling remains consistently inventive, and rewards with gripping vignettes starring spirited personalities. These memoirs thereby tell the story of many – a story of resilient compassion and defiant pride.

The result is compelling; Lucy’s People skilfully documents an intimate perspective on an ethically complex time and place. ___Ben Claessens

Originally published at the Google Books site.

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Blurb

Lucy’s People: An Ethiopian Memoir is the inspiring story of a country and a life. Did you know that Ethiopia is mother to all her people? Under her sun and moon, women walk tall. Many are warriors. Young Mesfin learns their stories from his mother and grandmother. Both were patriots, who fought Italian Mussolini’s invaders. They kept the fascists out of their province of Gojjam. Never would a loyal Ethiopian forfeit their motherland. Is this why she has never been colonised?

Growing up under Emperor Haile Selassie I, Mesfin attends a palace school and plays chess with generals. The conduct of his colonel father and colleagues teaches him military honour. Treachery from within and without Ethiopia threaten her peace. In 1974, the communist revolution destroys traditional life. Teenage Mesfin endures imprisonment and underage military conscription. He is sent to the warfront. How does his spirit remain intact? What is it about Ethiopian culture that gives her people their strength? 

Mesfin qualifies as both a construction and civil engineer. Do you wonder about Ethiopian building techniques? At Building College in Addis Ababa, Mesfin studies ancient Abyssinian construction techniques dating from the time of Saba (Sheba) – more than 3,000 years ago. Her Lake Tana people pioneered agricultural use of water. Specialising in water development, Mesfin works all over Ethiopia. Never compromising his ethics, he survives. What is the key? Is it Lucy, another symbolic mother? She was an early hominid from the Rift Valley. For 3.2 million years, the fossil of her skeleton has endured. In 1991, the brutal communist Derg falls. Fresh disaster comes. Youth must choose: stay or flee?

How to Get our Book

Buy a paperback from Amazon, an ebook for your Kindle or an ebook from Kobo. It would be wonderful if you asked your bookshop or library to stock our paperback or ebook.

  • International bookshops order here.
  • International libraries order here.
  • Distributor for Australia: Lightning Source Australia, 76 Discovery Rd, Dandenong South VIC 3175 Tel: (03) 9765 Tel: (03) 9765 4800

RRP: Paperback: A$25.29 including GST A$2.30; ebook: A$11.99; Kindle: A$7.99

For bulk purchase enquiries, contact us:

  • Mobile: +61478 960 407
  • Email: info@ianetbastyan

Lucy’s People Details

Now Writing

Under the Pump: Water for Refugees by Mesfin Tadesse. This follows on from where Lucy’s People leaves off. Set in Kenyan UNHCR camps 1991–1994, the theme is life-saving work for refugees.

Summary: Mesfin is a refugee in Kenya where his hands-on engineering skills build water supplies from scratch in 4 hell-camp zones. Speaking 6 languages helps him with the human side of things. Refugees are from Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Uganda and Zaire (Congo). Like the others, Mesfin faces heat, hunger, thirst, disease, lack of shelter and police bashings. The non-stop work of a few saves tens of thousands, mostly women and children.

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Book cover for Lucy's People: An Ethiopian Memoir by Mesfin Tadesse 2021

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