On March 15, 2016, Africa’s most anticipated novel hits the stands.
Mbolo Mbue caused quite a splash in the African literary community when she signed a million-dollar publishing deal with Random House. [Click HERE if you missed it.]
The manuscript, originally titled Longings of Jende Jonga, will be published as Behold the Dreamers.
We won’t lie. Our vote would have been for keeping the original title, which has a nice ring to it. But Behold the Dreamers does capture that precarious dream for a better life at the heart of immigrant stories.
The publishers are calling the novel “a compulsively readable story about marriage, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream.”
We agree, if the official synopsis is anything to by:
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 their 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’ facades.
Then the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Desperate to keep Jende’s job, which grows more tenuous by the day, the Jongas try to protect the Edwardses from certain truths, even as their own marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
Known as the million-dollar novelist, Mbue’s success is one of which most writers can only dream.
Before now, Mbue was unknown in the African literary community. Her claim to fame was simply the high-profile publishing contract with Random House. We’d never read anything by her because she was, at the time, an unpublished author.
With the release of “Emke,” a melancholy tale about a dying man, Mbue gave us a taste of her writing. [Read story HERE]
Hollywood has since taken an interest in her work. Two weeks ago, we brought you the news that Tristar, a Sony company, has optioned the story for film. [Click HERE if you missed it.]
We simply can’t wait!
Click HERE to preorder.