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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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    82
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Two incomplete stories...

I want so badly to give this an overall 5 stars, but, sadly, I cannot. What was the story the author meant to tell? The story of a Nigerian dealing with his son's homosexuality, or a Black young man being wrongly shot down by cops, during a disagreement with his White best friend? Both stories are incomplete. One or both should have been completed.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unforgetable

This story was moving and it brought to the forefront that we as parents should Love our children for who they are, not for whom they may happen to choose to love..
Love is deeper than the act of sex, between a man and a woman or a woman to woman or man to man. Life can be so brief and we can live it regret what we do or be happy for what we have done.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wow!

What a story with so many twists and turns. This story will sit in my mind.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator makes the book

I liked the book, but the second half wasn’t so good. The narration made it a good read. The story started off so strong but midway through sort of fizzled. It was a good book but could have been so much better with a different second half. Bravo to the narrators! They kept me listening.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I finished it in 1 day!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it is a story that needs to be told.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting part of the story is the fighting and coming to terms with Niru's sexuality. Also, the new relationship/romance that Niro finds.

What does Prentice Onayemi and Julia Whelan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Prentice Onayemi has become 1 of my favorite narrators ever. He brings so much to this audio book, with the way he voices the different characters. I kept thinking of other books that I have read that I wish he had narrated. Amazing! I like Julia Whelan's reading as well.

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

I would go to dinner with Niru and just talk to him. Let him no that he is a great person just the way he is.

Any additional comments?

I like this novel, and I think the story is a good story that needed to be told this way. But I wish there were more happy or positive story with black gay males featured in them. Let them win some time. Maybe that would be too boring?

1 of 2 people found this review helpful