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Speak No Evil

A Novel
Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (238 ratings)
Regular price: $23.95
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Publisher's Summary

In the long-anticipated novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, DC, he's a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: He is queer - an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders - and the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

In the tradition of Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, Speak No Evil explores what it means to be different in a fundamentally conformist society and how that difference plays out in our inner and outer struggles. It is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people. As heart-wrenching and timely as his breakout debut, Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala's second novel cuts to the core of our humanity and leaves us reeling in its wake.

©2018 Uzodinma Iweala (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Part 2 Let Me Down

Iweala presents a beautiful voice in Part 1 of Speak No Evil. Niru is genuine, confused, and complex. His perspective rings true to his circumstances and walking through the journey of his own self-acceptance is engaging for the reader. However, Iweala in Part 2 ditches the elements that make Speak No Evil unique and enjoyable. He abandons the voice so artfully depicted in Part 1 and loses the opportunity to further explore an emotionally complex and relatively undiscussed topic. For me, hearing this shift in the audiobook format exemplified the jarring change in direction. I loved Part 1, but Part 2 was a painful disappointment.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Engaging but painful

Well written and performed, a story illustrating the devastating effects that intolerance and fear can have on relationships and on lives. Do not read this if you need a pick me up or feel good resolution. Do read this if you want a thought provoking, heartfelt story about what divides us. #ComingOfAge #Provocative #Depressing #TorturedHero #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Defies expectations

The fact that a book isn't what you expect it to be means that it will either be an unexpected surprise or a burning disappointment. This book is classified as Gay and Lesbian, and the synopsis describes a teenager struggling with his sexuality, but this book is only nominally about either. It brings in issues of race; it brings them in hard, late, and with little preamble; and it discards the issue of sexuality like a red herring. I will grant that frustration with the choices the characters make may speak to its being well-written, or it may speak to its being a cheat, as when the drunken teenager in the slasher movie opens that door in the abandoned farmhouse. It takes a lot of work to create smart, sensible, and grounded characters who turn around and make foolish decisions. I can't be more specific about this without spoiling the story for those who want to read it, but be warned, you may not like where it goes. As for the narrators, the first had a Shatner-esque speaking style (Too. Many. Pauses.) that made it difficult to love the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Heartbreaking

Beautiful, tragic, and circumscribed, this book will take you on an emotional journey from which you may not recover.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So real, so touching

This book is beautifully written. You fall in love with the characters and they break your heart. The performance was one of the best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This is a must listen

I listened to this book almost in one sitting—WOW! Narrator is perfect. If you’re wondering whether you should listen/read: you should.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Debra
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 04-05-18

Haunting and powerful

Where does Speak No Evil rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitely among the best.

What did you like best about this story?

The story was realistic and heartbreaking, and the ending shocked me. I loved the character of Niru. This book will stay with me for a long time.

Have you listened to any of Prentice Onayemi and Julia Whelan ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to both of them before and they are both great narrators.

If you could take any character from Speak No Evil out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I loved the character of Niru. Perhaps I'd take his father to dinner to discuss the error of his ways.

Any additional comments?

As a parent, this book brought home to me the lesson that we must love and appreciate our children for who they are, not who we want them to be.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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wow

really good writing and performance. definitely worthwhile. great work. please take the time to listen to the words and tonality.

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heart-wrenching and beautiful

this story was captivating the entire way through, at once romantic, hopeful and brutally sad.

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And easy, emotional and enveloping listen

Prentice Onayemi’s buttery voice is wonderfully paired with Mr. Iweala’s descriptive writing- I felt deeply connected to the main character during this sad sombering tale.