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Way back in March, we brought you news of Uzodinma Iweala’s second novel. Iweala had hinted during an interview with Guardian Nigeria that a new novel was in the works and touched on the novel’s broad themes. But he didn’t give away specific details about the book.

Well, the tease is finally over!

The novel is titled Speak No Evil. Like his critically acclaim debut novel, Beast of No Nation, Iweala’s second novel is on the petit side, numbering only 224 pages. But, as they say, good things come in small packages.

The novel is being published by Harper Collins and is set for a March 6, 2018 release.

Iweala who received the galleys of the novel sometime in mid-August posted the image above on Instagram and mentioned that the novel was “very relevant to everything that is currently happening.”

From the synopsis [see below], the novel promises to be a high-tension family drama about queerness in the hostile environment of an ultra-conservative Nigerian household. Set in Washington, DC, the novel explores the intersections of race, class, and queer African experience.

Synopsis:

In the long-anticipated novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

In the tradition of Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, Speak No Evil explores what it means to be different in a fundamentally conformist society and how that difference plays out in our inner and outer struggles. It is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people. As heart-wrenching and timely as his breakout debut, Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala’s second novel cuts to the core of our humanity and leaves us reeling in its wake.

After a 12-year wait, Iweala’s fans must be ecstatic to know that novel # 2 is very much on its way out.

Congrats to Iweala! We should also mention that the cover design does not disappoint at all. It’s clean, clever, and eye-catchy.

Speak No Evil is available for preorder HERE.

 

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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