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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Thoroughly enjoyable with reservations

I loved the twist and turns of this story. I did not enjoy as I often don't the subjugation of women to their husbands.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • A
  • 01-15-17

Great Story About Life

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

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Just okay...

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." =\

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Overhyped

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.

40 of 47 people found this review helpful

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Listeni to this wonderful book !!!

an excellent book. probably as powerful in the reading as in the listening. ..however the reader used so many voices and accents expertly and believably, completely adding to my connection with the book. I love the resolution and the realizations the characters and I came to. behold this terrific book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Chasing the American Dream

Any additional comments?

BTD is another story about an immigrant family's quest for the American Dream. It's poignant in light of today's immigration issues. Many come to America to pursue prosperity, freedom, comfort and security. But what price do individuals' pay to fulfill their dreams? Prentice Onayemi has such a soothing voice. His many accents and knowledge of native and non native idioms give much credibility to the story's narration. BTD demonstrates the daily fears and worries of immigrants, especially those who've entered the U.S. without proper documentation or without approval. Mr. Mbue demonstrates sensitivity, compassion and knowledge of the fight and plight of immigrant families.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Got me thinking!

Where does Behold the Dreamers (Oprah's Book Club) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Among the best.

What did you like best about this story?

Gave me an understanding of what some immigrants experience coming to America. Also, made me think about how I feel about our immigration system.

Which character – as performed by Prentice Onayemi – was your favorite?

Wife.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extremes.

Any additional comments?

Well written book with well developed characters that made me think and feel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful story from start to finish.

I could not put this book down. Loved the New York setting. I also found the background of the immigrant story enlightening.
A must read for anyone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • FALLS CHURCH, VA, United States
  • 04-23-17

Heartwarming story of triumph and struggle

What an interesting perspective of a couple from Cameroon who wanted to have the American dream. I liked the couple and respect the author for bringing their tale wrapped in an American scandal. The Narrator is awesome.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rosie
  • VANCOUVER, WA, United States
  • 07-10-17

Great story!

loved the book. The reader really brought it home & made it real....the story - heart warming.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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