Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

A Novel

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
25
1
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 Named one of BuzzFeed 's "Incredible New Books You Need to Read This Summer" 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. Advance praise for Behold the Dreamers "Imbolo Mbue would be a formidable storyteller anywhere, in any language. It's our good luck that she and her stories are American." ?Jonathan Franzen, National Book Award-winning author of Purity and Freedom "Dazzling, fast-paced, and exquisitely written, Behold the Dreamers is one of those rare novels that will change the way you see the world. Imbolo Mbue is a breathtaking talent." ?Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train "Who is this Imbolo Mbue and where has she been hiding? Her writing is startlingly beautiful, thoughtful, and both timely and timeless. She's taking on everything from family to the Great Recession to immigration while deftly reminding us what it means to truly believe in 'the American dream.'" ?Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award?winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn "It's rare that a book is so fascinating, so emotionally compelling, and so beautiful that I literally can't put it down. I picked Behold the Dreamers up one evening before bed. I turned the last page at dawn. It ruined the next day for me?I wasn't much good for anything but a nap?but it was worth every lost hour." ?Ayelet Waldman, New York Times bestselling author of Love and Treasure "A beautiful book about one African couple starting a new life in a new land, Behold the Dreamers will teach you as much about the promise and pitfalls of life in the United States as about the immigrants who come here in search of the so-called American dream." ?Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique's Journey and winner of the Pulitzer Prize "Among the spate of novels forged in the crucible of the previous decade, Mbue's impressive debut deserves a singular place. . . . Realistic, tragic, and still remarkably kind to all its characters, this is a special book." ?Kirkus Reviews (starred review) From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: [S.I.] : Random House Publishing Group, 2016
ISBN: 9780812998498
0812998499
Branch Call Number: Overdrive eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Opinion

From Library Staff

The intersecting lives of two families in New York: Jende Jonga lives in Harlem with his wife and young son, and is the chauffeur for Clark Edwards, an executive for a Wall Street firm. Which one's life reflects the American Dream?

List - World Refugee Day
ArapahoeJody Feb 20, 2018

A novel about two young African immigrants who come to New York City. Through hard work they thrive and raise their family, but overwhelming challenges due to the immigration system sends them back home to Africa.

Comment
ArapahoeJody Feb 22, 2018

A novel about two young immigrants from Africa who come to New York City. Through hard work they thrive and begin to raise their family. But overwhelming challenges with the immigration system send them back home to Africa.

List - World View Fiction
ArapahoeAlyson Dec 02, 2017

A compelling look at the immigrant experience in New York City, told from the point of view of Jende and Neni from Cameroon. Is marriage, family and culture more important than getting ahead? AL_PAMELAH

A compelling look at the immigrant experience in New York City, told from the point of view of Jende and Neni from Cameroon. Is marriage, family and culture more important than getting ahead?


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

LPL_KateG Jun 22, 2018

My book club enjoyed this and had a great discussion about immigration, the American Dream, class differences in various places, and what it means to live a satisfying life. This novel was compelling and had characters who were complex and interesting. I would highly recommend this for a book club!

m
MyTake
May 23, 2018

I loved the pace, the plot twists, the references to another culture. It's impressive that this book is her first. I look forward to reading other books that she may write.

o
orange_lobster_23
Apr 07, 2018

The lives of Cameroonian immigrants aspiring U.S. citizens and Jende Jonga and his wife Nendi become intertwined with that of his Lehman executive employer and family in
this tense and heart-breaking story set in 2007 N.Y.C. A sad and compassionate look at the lives of struggling immigrants and a formerly comfortable family after the 2007 Lehman brothers collapse. A compelling read and winner of the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award.

u
uncommonreader
Mar 29, 2018

This is not a badly written book, but it tells an ordinary story through a rose-tinted lens. A family of immigrants from Cameroon, believing in the American dream, are desperate to stay in the United States for its material benefits. The story is redeemed in the last few chapters.

ArapahoeJody Feb 22, 2018

A novel about two young immigrants from Africa who come to New York City. Through hard work they thrive and begin to raise their family. But overwhelming challenges with the immigration system send them back home to Africa.

s
swheeler89
Jan 31, 2018

Not sure if I would have found this without Oprah, so yeah, Oprah for President?... Seriously this was great. The story and characters were so real, you didn't know who to root for. You learn that family is more than money, and at time more than dreams. Do yourself a favor, read this, and then engage an immigrant to listen to their story as well.

c
Chapel_Hill_KatieJ
Jan 22, 2018

Jende and Neni are immigrants from Cameroon who live in Harlem. The book begins with Jende getting a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, an executive at Lehman Brothers. Neni attends community college with the goal of becoming a pharmacist. The book is set during the 2008 Presidential Election, and right before the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy that contributed to the Great Recession. As Jende’s immigration status becomes more and more tenuous, Neni decides she will do just about anything in order to raise her children in America. Neni is the strongest character, and her actions are the most interesting parts of the book. The Edwards family is less developed, and comes across as a caricature of rich people. Perhaps that was the point though, that this generic rich couple has no idea of how much their actions affect individuals like Jende and Neni, thousands of Lehman Brothers employees, and their own children.

s
suekrachko
Dec 04, 2017

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue is an astonishing debut novel about immigration to America. The author's writes with clarity and suspense, keeping the reader riveted to the story. One of the three best books I've read in 2017.

m
mnack_0
Dec 02, 2017

Another great "first novel" with a surprise ending. Her story gives one much to think about and to discuss about the immigrant story (myth?) in America.

l
lukasevansherman
Oct 25, 2017

Involving and empathetic debut novel about an immigrant family struggling to make it in New York City. These are the kind of books that we need to be reading right now. Author Imbolo Mbue is originally from Cameroon. I'd also suggest "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote

ArapahoeMaryA Sep 27, 2017

Jalaluddin Rumi, the Sufi mystic. He’s the one who said, ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.’ Which was his own way of saying, ‘Let’s not dwell too much on labeling things as right or wrong.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at Arapahoe Libraries

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top