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Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir…

Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial…

by Okey Ndibe

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"Never Look an American in the Eye" may start as a story of "the making of a Nigerian American," but it ends up being so much more. It is a memoir in which the author somehow manages to reveal all of the beauty in cultural difference and in intentionally bridging sometimes painful historical and racial divides, rather than probing deeper into those wounds. This is not to say that there is no place in the world for cultural criticism, but that we live in a time when criticism has become the dominant, if not the reflexive, response to past and present wrong-doing. Ndibe's ability to invoke humour, joy, and admiration of others in spite of all this is like a life-giving source of refreshment in the midst of a cynical culture. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the Texas Book Festival, and he is just as ebullient in life as he is on the page. I hope to get to know much more of him in the latter sphere. ( )
  quaintlittlehead | Jul 4, 2017 |
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"Okey Ndibe's funny, charming, and penetrating memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential--but forever teetering on the verge of insolvency--African Commentary magazine. It recounts stories of Ndibe's relationships with Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and other literary figures; examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just 13 days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street trickery. All these stories and more come together in a generous, encompassing book about the making of a writer and a new American"--… (more)

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