Originally published in Scribbles from the Den
With no previous published work and virtually no social media footprint, Internet sleuths were unable to dig up any worthwhile information about this mystery novelist described by her agent, Susan Golomb, as “part of the new generation of African writers just being discovered.” Ainehi Edoro of Brittle Paper best captured the prevailing mood within the (African) literary community when she wrote that: “If you’re like me, you probably curious about her writing. What does the writing of a million-dollar debut novelist look like?”
The veil over Imbolo Mbue’s writing was partially lifted in December 2014 when The Threepenny Review published her short story “Emke”. Thanks to this teaser, readers were finally able to get a feel for what Random House’s David Ebershoff had earlier described as her “intelligence, empathy, and talent.”
So, will Behold the Dreamers live up to the promise, or has it promised more than it can deliver? Here’s what Imbolo says: “No, you won’t find any reviews of the book quite yet, for obvious reason. But my husband read it and called it ‘Brilliant!’, ‘Great!’, ‘Wonderful!’, ‘Amazing!’ Yes, please take this with four grains of salt.”
While waiting for the March 15, 2016 release date, we now have a better handle on the story thanks to the detailed blurb on the author’s Random House page:
For fans of Americanah and The Lowland comes a debut novel about an immigrant couple striving to get ahead as the Great Recession hits home. With profound empathy, keen insight, and sly wit, Imbolo Mbue has written a compulsively readable story about marriage, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream.