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Extended Audio Sample Behold the Dreamers: A Novel, by Imbolo Mbue Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Imbolo Mbue Narrator: Prentice Onayemi Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at their summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ facades.

Then the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Desperate to keep Jende’s job, which grows more tenuous by the day, the Jongas try to protect the Edwardses from certain truths, even as their own marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fresh, engaging entry…of what it means to be an American—and how human beings, not laws or dogma, define liberty.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Mbue’s writing is warm and captivating.”


  • “Well-imagined characters who try, through whatever means possible, to protect their families and better their lives.”

    USA Today

  • Challenges us all to consider what it takes to make us genuinely content, and how long is too long to live with our dreams deferred.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A dissection of the American Dream.”

    New York Times

  • “Illuminates the immigrant experience in America with the tenderhearted wisdom so lacking in our political discourse…Mbue is a bright and captivating storyteller.”

    Washington Post

  • “A clever morality tale that never preaches but instead teaches us the power of integrity.”


  • ”In Imbolo Mbue’s sprightly debut…songs of innocence and arrogance collide.”


  • “[A] beautiful, empathetic novel…vivid, complex, and essential.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A witty, compassionate, swiftly paced novel that takes on race, immigration, family, and the dangers of capitalist excess.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “Will have you feeling for each character from the moment you crack it open.”

    In Style
  • “Realistic, tragic, and still remarkably kind to all its characters, this is a special book.“

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Narrator Prentice Onayemi invigorates the listener with a steady pace and musical intonation…Onayemi’s distinctive accents ensure that the listener can differentiate between the the African immigrants and the American characters featured in this story of the American dream…Onayemi is especially touching in his portrayal of Neni, the Cameroonian mother and wife; he even sings a few lines of her African dialect. Most importantly, he makes the two different cultural worlds depicted in the novel vivid and fully believable. As Onayemi takes us on the emotional journeys of the characters, it’s a delightful and at times discomforting experience—but well worth the listen.”


  • Longlisted for the 2017 Carnegie Medal for Literature
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for August 2016
  • A People Pick of the Week
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