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How Beautiful We Were Reviews

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue

How Beautiful We Were

Imbolo Mbue

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Canongate Books Ltd
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication date: 11 Mar 2021
ISBN: 9781838851347

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers, comes a sweeping story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company

4 stars out of 5
Stuart Kelly
26 Mar 2021

"necessary, powerful and achingly humane"

The novel’s great virtue is in avoiding obvious dichotomies. I have always said that any book which denies complexity is a libel on reality, and Mbue certainly avoids that. It is not a simple fable about honest villagers and nefarious companies, and as the back-stories spiral out we have a very nuanced portrayal of colonialism (going back to the rubber plantations), slavery (with a fearful story about the other villagers who “wanted” to be taken), the decent men in bad places, the disappointment of national liberation turning into dictatorship. 

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