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Imagine Lorraine Hansberry’s play/film “A Raisin in the Sun” with a Cameroonian cast of characters in early 21st century New York City, and you may come up with something close to “Behold the Dreamers,” a poignant and bittersweet debut novel by Imbolo Mbue.

The author plunges her protagonists, married couple Jende and Neni Jonga (like Mbue, natives of Limbe, Cameroon, who now live in the Big Apple), into the maelstrom of the 2008 economic crisis. For many in the U.S., that vicissitude of global proportions transmogrified the American dream. For Jende and Neni, parents of a young son, Liomi, it gets piled atop several concerns already weighing on them. What will happen if Jende’s application for asylum, which he based on the flimsiest of grounds, is turned down?

“He would have to return to a country where visions of a better life were the birthright of a blessed few, to a town from which dreamers like him were fleeing daily.”

Imagine Lorraine Hansberry’s play/film “A Raisin in the Sun” with a Cameroonian cast of characters in early 21st century New York City, and you may come up with something close to “Behold the Dreamers,” a poignant and bittersweet debut novel by Imbolo Mbue.

The author plunges her protagonists, married couple Jende and Neni Jonga (like Mbue, natives of Limbe, Cameroon, who now live in the Big Apple), into the maelstrom of the 2008 economic crisis. For many in the U.S., that vicissitude of global proportions transmogrified the American dream. For Jende and Neni, parents of a young son, Liomi, it gets piled atop several concerns already weighing on them. What will happen if Jende’s application for asylum, which he based on the flimsiest of grounds, is turned down?

“He would have to return to a country where visions of a better life were the birthright of a blessed few, to a town from which dreamers like him were fleeing daily.”

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