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Behold the Dreamers (2016)

by Imbolo Mbue

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3498210,275 (3.96)89
A compulsively readable 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 New York Times Bestseller - Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award - Longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award - An ALA Notable Book NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR - The New York Times Book Review - San Francisco Chronicle - The Guardian - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Chicago Public Library - BookPage - Refinery29 - Kirkus Reviews 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' fa ades. 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. Praise for Behold the Dreamers"A debut novel by a young woman from Cameroon that illuminates the immigrant experience in America with the tenderhearted wisdom so lacking in our political discourse . . . Mbue is a bright and captivating storyteller."--The Washington Post "A capacious, big-hearted novel."--The New York Times Book Review "Behold the Dreamers' heart . . . belongs to the struggles and small triumphs of the Jongas, which Mbue traces in clean, quick-moving paragraphs."--Entertainment Weekly "Mbue's writing is warm and captivating."--People (book of the week) " Mbue's] book isn't the first work of fiction to grapple with the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, but it's surely one of the best. . . . It's a novel that depicts a country both blessed and doomed, on top of the world, but always at risk of losing its balance. It is, in other words, quintessentially American."--NPR "This story is one that needs to be told."--Bust "Behold the Dreamers challenges us all to consider what it takes to make us genuinely content, and how long is too long to live with our dreams deferred."--O: The Oprah Magazine" A] beautiful, empathetic novel."--The Boston Globe "A witty, compassionate, swiftly paced novel that takes on race, immigration, family and the dangers of capitalist excess."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Mbue is] a deft, often lyrical observer. . . . Her] meticulous storytelling announces a writer in command of her gifts."--Minneapolis Star Tribune… (more)

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» See also 89 mentions

English (77)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
This book has so historical bits around the time of the end of George W. Bush's administration and beginning of Obama's. The economy of America was a recession. The main characters are from Africa. They want to get citizenship in America. They come when things aren't as bad. When the recession hits, they see the American dream floating away. This is a thought-provoking book for people from America and other countries. There are several characters besides the main couple who add to it. I was really interested to see what would come of everything. Their fate is sort of wrapped up with a rich couple. They work for them. The man is involved with one of the investment companies that dealt such a blow to the stock market. This wasn't a narrative I've heard before so it really kept my interest. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Feb 17, 2021 |
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.
  CarolBurrows | Jan 16, 2021 |
3.5-4 ( )
  jastay | Jan 7, 2021 |
A fairly simple, very clear account of the immigration and life of a Cameroonian family and the family the father serves as a chauffeur. The prose isn't what you typically hear called radiant or luminous, but it's serviceable and comfortable, pleasant. It's hard not to like the main characters. The book was worthwhile to me more as pseudo-documentary than as an artifact of notable prose style or any of the usual things like plotting or characterization that one thinks of as integral to good fiction. More a 3 than a 4 for me as a piece of writing, but more a 4 than a 3 for the clarity with which it offered me a view into a set of lives unfamiliar to me. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Follows the ups and downs, joys, frustrations, and complications of the immigrant experience in America. All the stories are different, even for the various characters in this book but it's a good point of view for non-immigrant citizens to chew on. So many of us have people in our families who went through some of these same things. Let's one appreciate the courage to come here and the good (and bad) points of living here. ( )
  librarygeek33 | Jan 4, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Imbolo Mbueprimary authorall editionscalculated
Onayemi, PrenticeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills, a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig-trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
Deuteronomy 8:7-9
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He'd never been asked to wear a suit to a job interview. Never been told to bring along a copy of his resume.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A compulsively readable 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 New York Times Bestseller - Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award - Longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award - An ALA Notable Book NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR - The New York Times Book Review - San Francisco Chronicle - The Guardian - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Chicago Public Library - BookPage - Refinery29 - Kirkus Reviews 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' fa ades. 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. Praise for Behold the Dreamers"A debut novel by a young woman from Cameroon that illuminates the immigrant experience in America with the tenderhearted wisdom so lacking in our political discourse . . . Mbue is a bright and captivating storyteller."--The Washington Post "A capacious, big-hearted novel."--The New York Times Book Review "Behold the Dreamers' heart . . . belongs to the struggles and small triumphs of the Jongas, which Mbue traces in clean, quick-moving paragraphs."--Entertainment Weekly "Mbue's writing is warm and captivating."--People (book of the week) " Mbue's] book isn't the first work of fiction to grapple with the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, but it's surely one of the best. . . . It's a novel that depicts a country both blessed and doomed, on top of the world, but always at risk of losing its balance. It is, in other words, quintessentially American."--NPR "This story is one that needs to be told."--Bust "Behold the Dreamers challenges us all to consider what it takes to make us genuinely content, and how long is too long to live with our dreams deferred."--O: The Oprah Magazine" A] beautiful, empathetic novel."--The Boston Globe "A witty, compassionate, swiftly paced novel that takes on race, immigration, family and the dangers of capitalist excess."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Mbue is] a deft, often lyrical observer. . . . Her] meticulous storytelling announces a writer in command of her gifts."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

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