FictionBehold The Dreamers By Imbolo Mbue

Behold The Dreamers By Imbolo Mbue


I read this book on a plane. An actual plane. It’s been over two years since I last went on one come to think of it — and in fact, it was this book that I read on my last flight. To Riga. In October 2019.

It was a somewhat blissful child free trip (I went for the weekend with my dad to do some digging into our family history) and this book took that flight to another level of perfect. In fact, I remember for weeks before fantasising about those couple of hours aboard when I’d just be able to READ. And boy, did I enjoy every second. Mbue’s writing is pure magic and totally transportive, whilst the rawness and reality of the subject matter is profoundly moving.

Behold The Dreamers is set in New York in 2007, where Jende has been living without his wife for two long years. Finally, Neni joins him from Cameroon, drawn not only by her husband but by the promise and hope that America has to offer.

When both Jende and Neni become employed by the same wealthy family, him as their chauffeur and her as their housekeeper, their lives take twists and turns that they could never have imagined. 

There is so much here in this captivating debut — immigration, poverty, affluence, shame, class and the secrets we keep, hiding ourselves from those around us. What stood out for me above all was Mbue’s beautiful and carefully woven prose; it kept me thoroughly immersed from the first page to the last, by which point my heart was completely breaking — but in the very best possible way.

If you’ve not read this one, you MUST.

~ Sophie 

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