A compulsively listenable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American dream - the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.
Named one of BuzzFeed's "Incredible New Books You Need to Read This Summer".
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself; his wife, Neni; and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty - and Jende is eager to please. Clark's wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.
However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers' façades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende's job - even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
©2016 Imbolo Mbue (P)2016 Random House Audio
"Imbolo Mbue would be a formidable storyteller anywhere, in any language. It's our good luck that she and her stories are American." (Jonathan Franzen, National Book Award-winning author of Purity and Freedom)
"Dazzling, fast-paced, and exquisitely written, Behold the Dreamers is one of those rare novels that will change the way you see the world. Imbolo Mbue is a breathtaking talent." (Christina Baker Kline, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Orphan Train)
"Who is this Imbolo Mbue and where has she been hiding? Her writing is startlingly beautiful, thoughtful, and both timely and timeless. She's taking on everything from family to the Great Recession to immigration while deftly reminding us what it means to truly believe in 'the American dream.'" (Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn)
Prentice Oyemi's narration is stunning. He does such an incredible job moving between African, American, male and female characters. His performance is just beautiful.
I am a reader who prefers description and character development over plot. Unfortunately the writing is very flat, the story never gets going and it's message was lost in artificiality. Every time the I thought the story would pick up it fell away again. Overall I was very disappointed.
Neni is the best developed of the characters and the one scene, too far toward the end of the book, where we see her passion for her education was too little too late. That was the highlight of the book for me, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Jende was never developed enough, neither was his son, his employers or friends.
The book has been massively overhyped with Buzzfeed calling it a must read book of the summer. There are many, much better books that have been published in 2016 (I recommend Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Denis-Benn) or by authors who are originally from African countries (try Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as one of the best).
For people who have been interested to read this book having seen the hype over it I would instead recommend authors such as Adichie, or to Jhumpa Lahiri, Khaled Hosseini, Zadie Smith, and to the lesser known, emerging authors such as Nicole Dennis-Benn and Chigozi Obiama. All of these authors have written better examinations of topics similar to what has been attempted here by Imbolo Mbue.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story detailing life struggles of all people. It was vivid, colorful , happy, sad , and very humorous all wrapped in one. The author was so detailed you could see and hear the details & action as if it were happening before your eyes. There was so much compassion in these spirited characters that you felt you wanted to know them all better.
Also, I now feel I understand a little more of the trials & circumstances that immigrants go thru that we as native citizens take for granted in the USA.
The story and narrative are both interesting and compelling . I will look for more by the Author and Narrator. This Audible
Book is well worth the listen & points. Bravo!!!!
AE - Annapolis, MD
First of all, I must say the narrator was one of the most impressive I've heard! He did an amazing job! Bravo! However, the story itself kinda fizzled for me as it went along. By the end I felt more than ready for it to be "the end." =\
While I did enjoy the story, I felt that it supported the stereotype of Africans and Black people with which the American public is most comfortable.
Superbly narrated and thoughtfully written. This book is a must read for any native born American to understand what immigrants face in their everyday lives. Thank you Imbolo Mbue for sharing this wonderful story!
I saw a review of this book in The Skimm, and decided to give it a chance. The book was slow to build, and the storyline was lacking. The reader was well-spoken but overall, I was disappointed that the story wasn't more engaging.
Enjoyed seeing NY city through others' eyes. Interesting to read about the cultural differences between the United States and Cameroon.
Beautifully told story.
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