Sunday, April 15

Becoming the Buddha

Kenneth looks Kenyan. His skin is dark, his nose is long and thin, and yet his features are soft, almost delicate, like a child's. He's six feet tall, but it's only in the past two years, since he got his job, that he's ever weighed more than a hundred and fifty pounds. When he's drunk he lifts up his shirt, blows out his stomach, and pats his protruding belly proudly. "God bless America," he says with each pat. "Only here can someone become the Buddha."

That's from page three of a book I just started reading, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu. Already I'm captivated by the writing and the motivating storyline: the desire for a better life in America fleeing the turmoil and instability of home in Africa, despite a great love for your home continent.

Of course, becoming the Buddha, is that even a good thing. Is it just a source of amusement. I suppose it's got a bit to do with becoming the fatted calf. Becoming quite comfortable in the land of plenty.



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