Okey Ndibe’s funny, charming, and penetrating memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential—but forever teetering on the verge of insolvency—African Commentary magazine. It recounts stories of Ndibe’s relationships with Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and other literary figures; examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just 13 days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street trickery. All these stories and more come together in a generous, encompassing book about the making of a writer and a new American.

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Critic Reviews (7)

6.6
Weighted Avg. Adjusted by the addition of a statistical value.
Critic Score Distribution
Highest score:
Lowest score:
Average score:
8.0
6.0
7.4
  1. Positive: 6 Out of 7
  1. Mixed: 1 Out of 7
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 7
Critical Consensus: Good.
1

Africa Today

13 May 2017
7.0
Never Look an American in the Eye is Nigerian-born Okey Ndibe’s hilarious but penetrating and, as some critics have concluded, charming memoir, which details aspects of his life and times in America. In it, he provides information on substantiv ...
1

StarTribune

08 Jan 2017
8.0
This memoir by one of a raft of talented Nigerian writers who worked sometimes in exile, sometimes just abroad, evokes the rawness of setting up in a new world, and illuminates how distance of time and space helped a restless man appreciate his origi ...
1

Herald Scotland

29 Oct 2016
7.0
All novelists lie through their teeth to tell the truth. The sprightly Nigerian writer Okey Ndibe, author of Arrows of Rain, knows that more keenly than some. In his uplifting new memoir, Never Look an American in the Eye, he recounts his first attem ...
1

Book Reporter

21 Oct 2016
8.0
After being warned against violent, gun-toting Americans, Nigerian writer Okey Ndibe risked all to travel to the US. Although every situation seemed to highlight his difference from the people he met, he decided to make this confusing country his hom ...
2

Sahara Reporters

15 Oct 2016
8.0
Okey Ndibe has gone down memory lane and penned a scintillating memoir, rendered in his trademark spellbinding prose that has endeared him to many readers of his fiction and essays. Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, ...
2

Counter Punch

14 Oct 2016
8.0
Never fear. Never Look an American in the Eye, Okey Ndibe’s memoir of living in the United States, is not an angry, anti-American screed as its title perhaps implies. Nor was it Ndibe who initially made the observation but his uncle—before he lef ...

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SIMILAR Books

Published:

October 11, 2016

Publisher:

Soho Press

ISBN:

978-1-616-95760-5

Language:

English

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