How Beautiful We Were
A PEN/FAULKNER AWARD FINALIST
‘Sweeping and quietly devastating’ New York Times
‘A David and Goliath story for our times’ O, the Oprah Magazine
Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, this is the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations are made – and broken. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. But it will come at a steep price – one which generation after generation will have to pay.
How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.
Sweeping and quietly devastating . . . In Kosawa, Mbue has created a place and a people alive with emotional range . . . Profoundly affecting * * New York Times * * The unforgettable story of a community on the wrong end of Western greed, How Beautiful We Were will enthral you, appal you and show you what is possible when a few people stand up and say "this is not right". A masterful novel by a spellbinding writer engaged with the most urgent questions of our day -- DAVID EBERSHOFF, New York Times bestselling author of THE DANISH GIRL Imbolo Mbue would be a formidable storyteller anywhere, in any language. It's our good luck that she and her stories are American -- JONATHAN FRANZEN A David and Goliath story for our times, a riveting tale of how people coming together to make change can topple even the fiercest, best-financed foe * * O, The Oprah Magazine * * How Beautiful We Were goes to the heart of one of the most urgent matters of the day. The highly suspenseful story of an African village's struggle for survival and justice in the face of ruthless American corporate greed is written with remarkable acuity and compassion. Mbue has given us a book with the richness and power of a great contemporary fable, and a heroine for our time -- SIGRID NUNEZ, author of THE FRIEND, winner of the National Book Award Imbolo Mbue's revelatory novel of a fictional African village ruined by Big Oil is a mighty addition to the stacks * * ELLE * * What a beautiful book! I can't tell you how many times I cried for these characters, their place and their story . . . Beautifully written with moving and vivid descriptions, engaging complex characters, interesting plots, and tension so tightly wound that at times I found myself holding my breath -- YVONNE BATTLE-FELTON, author of REMEMBERED Tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Exploring what happens when the reckless drive for profit comes up against one community's determination to hold onto its ancestral land, it makes for unputdownable reading * * Glamour, Best new novel you won't want to put down * * Imbolo Mbue crafts an aching narrative about greed, community and perseverance * * Time * * A generation of narrative voices, many of them children, shape this sweeping, elegiac story of capitalism, colonialism and boundless greed, reminding us of the myriad ways we fail to make a better world for our children * * Esquire * *
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