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Speak No Evil
by Uzodinma Iweala


Overview -

"A lovely slender volume that packs in entire worlds with complete mastery. Speak No Evil explains so much about our times and yet is never anything less than a scintillating, page-turning read."--Gary Shteyngart

"A wrenching, tightly woven story about many kinds of love and many kinds of violence.  Read more...


 
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More About Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala
 
 
 
Overview

"A lovely slender volume that packs in entire worlds with complete mastery. Speak No Evil explains so much about our times and yet is never anything less than a scintillating, page-turning read."--Gary Shteyngart

"A wrenching, tightly woven story about many kinds of love and many kinds of violence. Speak No Evil probes deeply but also with compassion the cruelties of a loving home. Iweala's characters confront you in close-up, as viscerally, bodily alive as any in contemporary fiction."--Larissa MacFarquhar

In the long-anticipated novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he's a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer--an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders--and the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

In the tradition of Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, Speak No Evil explores what it means to be different in a fundamentally conformist society and how that difference plays out in our inner and outer struggles. It is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people. As heart-wrenching and timely as his breakout debut, Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala's second novel cuts to the core of our humanity and leaves us reeling in its wake.

A 2018 Indie Next Pick - A Barnes and Noble Best Book of the Month - A Library Journal Best Book of 2018 - One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of 2018 - One of Bustle's 35 Most Anticipated Fiction Books Of 2018 - One of Paste's 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2018 - One of The Boston Globe's 25 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780061284922
  • ISBN-10: 0061284920
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: March 2018
  • Page Count: 224
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > General
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > African American - General

 
BookPage Reviews

A story that demands attention

It’s been 12 years since the publication of Uzodinma Iweala’s astounding debut, Beasts of No Nation, a novel of West African political unrest narrated by a child. With his second novel, Speak No Evil, Iweala once again allows a young voice to ring clearly, shattering assumptions and demanding attention for unavoidable truths—this time about being black, queer and the child of successful immigrants in the United States.

High schooler Niru, the son of affluent, conservative Nigerian parents in Washington, D.C., tries to follow his parents’ wishes (he’s attending Harvard premed next fall), and his sexual awakening as a gay man comes with self-loathing and shame. He begs God for deliverance, and after his father drags him to Nigeria to “cure” his homosexuality, Niru attempts to block out his desires. But then Niru meets Damien, who makes it impossible to ignore his true feelings.

The majority of Speak No Evil unfolds through Niru’s perspective, but there is a shorter, final section told by his best friend, a white girl named Meredith. Her section, set six years later, recalls a horrifying act of violence. For this tragedy to be told from a white heterosexual character’s perspective is a crushing blow to Niru’s story—who gets to have a voice, after all? But those who get the last word have the greatest responsibility, and for all the mistakes made in Niru’s life—by his family and by himself—and for all the wealth and security his family possesses, it does not fall to the black child of immigrants to fix the American system’s deepest cruelties.

This graceful, consuming tale of differences, imbalances and prejudices is necessary reading.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews