Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers 1

An Oprah's Book Club Pick

by Imbolo Mbue

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 01/09/2016

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews

A powerful and timely story of marriage, class, race and the pursuit of the American Dream.

**Oprah Book Club 2017 Choice**

Behold the Dreamers is a dazzling debut novel about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and of what we're prepared to sacrifice to hold on to each of them. New York, 2007: a city of dreamers and strivers, where the newly-arrived and the long-established jostle alike for a place on the ladder of success. And Jende Jonga, who has come from Cameroon, has just set his foot on the first rung.

Clark Edwards is a senior partner at Lehman Brothers bank. In need of a discrete and reliable chauffeur, he is too preoccupied to closely check the paperwork of his latest employee. Jende's new job draws him, his wife Neni and their young son into the privileged orbit of the city's financial elite. And when Clark's wife Cindy offers Neni work and takes her into her confidence, the couple begin to believe that the land of opportunity might finally be opening up for them.

But there are troubling cracks in their employers' facades, and when the deep fault lines running beneath the financial world are exposed, the Edwards' secrets threaten to spill out into the Jonga's lives. Faced with the loss of all they have worked for, each couple must decide how far they will go in pursuit of their dreams - and what they are prepared to sacrifice along the way.

Featured in our collection - 21 Must-Read American Novels

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
HarperCollins Publishers
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):
Imbolo Mbue

Imbolo Mbue is a native of Limbe, Cameroon.

She holds a BS from Rutgers University and an MA from Columbia University.

A resident of the United States for more than a decade, she lives in New York City. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • New American Classic

    by on

    Poignant, immediate and immensely readable, Behold the Dreamers has readers talking the world over. A return to the question written in so many great American stories – What is the cost of the American Dream?

    You won’t be able to stop reading the humble Jende, a Cameroonian beginning a new life in New York’s Harlem, together with his incredible wife, Neni. Their lives change dramatically when Jende is made chauffeur to an executive of Lehman Brothers only weeks before the company would declare bankruptcy.

    At first this story seems to be headed towards a classical tragedy – ambitious heroes rising up only to be cut down. But so much more is at play here. It’s inspiring to watch these characters grow and change with every turn of the page. A rewarding journey for the reader and debut novel to be celebrated.

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