The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat
Expected Publication: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
This book started off extraordinarily slow. So much so, I almost abandoned it. I don’t care for stories that utilize in medias res (although, I love the phrase and it’s meaning) and then flashback to the beginning. I like to know the backstory soon in novels. What can I say? I’m impatient. Of course, that’s also what keeps me reading which is probably the author’s strategy, ha. Nonetheless, it worked well for this particular novel and I can appreciate why the author started with the narrator and her father on the island. So, I forced myself to continue and I am so very happy that I did. My goodness! By the end of the book, I was completely enthralled.
First, Ayale is a complete and utter ass. Of course, we don’t know this in the beginning. What I thought was a genuine mentor-mentee relationship turned out to all be a part of his sick, twisted and sinister plans to control and manipulate the people in his employ. The narrator, being young and naive (as she should be at her age), actually thought this man cared for her. I think she looked upon him as a father figure despite the fact that her own father was present in her life. For him to then turn around and actually want her taken out was infuriating. Why? She was no real threat. What was his doggone issue with her? Was it all about control?
Also, I found it interesting that she and her father were so Americanized. While she was born and raised in America, her father was not and the author didn’t really delve into any of the culture he had retained. That disappointed me a bit as one of the reasons I enjoy reading novels by authors from an array of backgrounds is to learn more about their culture. As it stands right now, the only thing I learned is that Ethiopians speak Amharic.I had no idea they spoke the language Jesus spoke. Of course, in hindsight that makes sense since Ethiopia is the birthplace of Christianity (fight me).
My last thoughts are really questions. Why was she never named in the novel? What does that mean? Is she not as important as Ayale? I hate that I know Ayale’s name and not hers. Was Ayale responsible for all of those murders? What was his point of keeping her around? So many questions! Obviously, I highly recommend the novel. It doesn’t come out until March 13th, but add it to your TBR lists and shopping carts now. I’m sure you can even pre-order it.