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.
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.
This story give a glimpse of what it teuly ia like to an immigrant from little means and little education. The American dream is a dream though attainable it can be a real struggle, that I would think every immigrant questions value of in the end. Is the struggle to an average American worht it to all who seek it? I enjoyed this book and the dichotomies that were written about. The performance was excellent
Dreams of life and family are different but often the same. Two men have very different paths in life but each had to make very difficult decisions for their family. Their relationship is based on respect for the agreement that they made when a Cameron man becomes the chauffer of a wall street executive. Family life is explored in the life of an undocumented man seeking to become an American and a Wall Street Executive seeking balance between family responsibility and the failing company he works at during the failing economy during the Housing crisis. It was well written and the characters were entertaining and tragic. I really enjoyed the complete pictures of life in Manhattan and Cameron.
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