2020 Longlist

Speak No Evil


2020 Longlist

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 homosexual – an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders. 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.

About the Author

Uzodinma Iweala is an American author and medical doctor of Nigerian descent. His debut novel, Beasts of No Nation depicts a child soldier in an unnamed African country and was adapted as an award-winning film in 2015.

Librarian’s Comments

Told mostly through the perspective of high school senior Niru, Uzodinma Iweala’s book “Speak No Evil” leads the reader on a journey from the elite prep schools of DC to an evangelical church in a Nigerian village. Niru’s life as an academic star is almost perfect, except for his inner turmoil as he struggles with the realization that he is gay. When his traditional immigrant parents discover his true sexuality, a downward spiral of events unravel. Whether in attendance at a raucous high school party or a religious exorcism. Niru is forced to navigate the changing expectations and behaviours that his family, his friends and the 21s Century demand. Iweala skillfully and heartbreakingly conveys the conflicting pressures of loyalty, family and sexuality. Miami-Dade Public Library System, USA




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