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Tim Ehrenberg Advocates for Imbolo Mbue

Tim Ehrenberg Advocates for Imbolo Mbue Picture

HOW BEAUTIFUL is this book. Let me count the ways.

Imbolo Mbue came to the Nantucket Book Festival in 2018 and we all fell in love with her. Her debut novel Behold the Dreamers was an Oprah Book Club pick and the PEN/Faulkner Award Winner and she captivated our audiences with her poise, grace, talent, family, and that red dress ;)

She returns to the literary world and our Nantucket Book Festival with How Beautiful We Were published from Random House on June 16th, 2020. PRE-ORDER NOW! I recently finished an advanced copy and, book friends, it. is. BEAUTIFUL!

I can't wait for you to meet these characters. I loved them all. One of my favorite aspects of Imbolo's writing is how carefully she crafts each sentence and each sentence perfectly creates these fictional villagers. You can hear them speaking, feel their pain and love, and want to help them. There is not a wasted word here.

Brief synopsis. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells of a people living in fear amid environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of cleanup and financial reparations to the villagers are made—and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interests. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle will last for decades and come at a steep price.

Told from the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, 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 on to its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.

Imbolo, I am so honored to be your Author Advocate, especially for this book. It resonated so much with me because it shows you what is possible when a group of people stand up and fight for what they believe in, for their lives and well-being, for friends and family, and for what is right. There are times this book is so humorous that I was laughing out loud at a character's words or actions, and there were times that I had to put the book down for a moment to reflect on its sadness. In my opinion, that makes a perfect book. It fuels your emotional spectrum and makes you, feel.