Behold The Dreamers
Recommended by Tihare Salazar
"Imbalo Mbue's debut novel, "Behold the Dreamers" gets a look at the immigrant dream of living in the United States, with promises of bigger, better than wherever you came from results. Indeed, there can be some truth to that, but what happens to the dream when it seems elusive, out of reach, or comes undone?
Imbalo Mbue creates a story that's at once heartwarming and heartbreaking. You cannot help but feel for the characters, empathize with their struggles, rejoice in their victories, and mourn with them in their suffering. She touches on love & marriage, immigration, wealth & poverty, identity, and the American Dream. It's a bold novel but pulls it off wonderfully. I would highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a page-turning story (not because of a thrilling plot but because you just have to find out what happens to these characters). "
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.