A child bride who longed to dance

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Haile Selassie, before the fall

The Wife’s Tale: A Personal History. By Aida Edemariam. Harper; 314 pages; $26.99. Fourth Estate; £16.99.

A HOME-COOKED Ethiopian meal is a sensual journey, which extends beyond the warm flavours of ginger and cardamom that spice the languidly served stews. There is also the tactile joy of tearing and rolling injera, a spongy and bubbly flat bread, before using it to mop up sauces. Best of all is the whiff of green coffee beans roasted in a cast-iron skillet, which is carried around the table to give each guest a full measure of its aroma.

To read Aida Edemariam’s “The Wife’s Tale” is to savour the life of her grandmother, Yetemegnu. It is a life scented with ginger and garlic, cardamom and basil, which spans emperors, revolutions, invasion, conquest and liberation. Rather than cataloguing Ethiopia’s turbulent modern history, Ms Edemariam…Continue reading

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