Alaska photo courtesy of Alejandro Gonzalez
It’s been a while since I talked about books here on the blog. But I always have a book on the go — it’s my way to wind down after a busy day.
My current read is Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers. I was introduced to his writing last year by a colleague who loaned me The Circle, Eggers’ dystopian fiction book about a futuristic tech company which starts to infiltrate the lives of its employees to a disturbing degree. For a full review, check out my post: Books I Read in September.
Heroes of the Frontier is going in a completely different direction from The Circle — following a woman with two young children who, after a failed marriage, decides to road-trip around Alaska. The trip is an attempt to escape her past, in which she believes she was implicit in the death of a young man who enlisted in the marines. So far, I’ve only read a few chapters but I get the sense that more from her past will be revealed later on in the book.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue was a recent book I read which really stood out for me. Mbue’s debut novel is an astute and insightful look into the lives of an African couple, Jende Jonga and his wife Neni, who immigrate to Harlem, New York City from the city of Limbe in Cameroon. Their goal is to try and build a better life for themselves and their son, Liomi, in America.
Jende finds a job as a chauffeur to a wealthy Wall Street businessman, Clark Edwards, and Neni studies hard towards her dream of becoming a pharmacist one day, finding temporary employment as a housekeeper for the Edwards’ family in their second home. She loves NYC — the buzz of the city, the hustle and bustle of all the people with their dreams and their ambitions.
But it’s 2007 and America is on the brink of a financial crisis. Lehman Brothers is about to collapse and the reverberations will be felt all around Wall Street. Jende and Neni become caught up in the Edwards’ privileged lives, at the same time as they are confronted by a tidal wave of obstacles in their pursuit of the American dream.
New York photo courtesy of Rick Tap at unsplash
Behold the Dreamers is a realistic novel which doesn’t promise a sugary-sweet happy ending. In showing us the lives of Jende and Neni, Mbue has achieved a masterful debut with great warmth and sympathy for her characters.
I’ve read a lot of fiction in the past few months, and Behold the Dreamers is definitely high up among the fiction books I’ve most enjoyed recently. I’ll be looking out for more from Imbolo Mbue.
What are you reading right now? What books have you read recently which you enjoyed? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?