Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala
A Novel

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There are signs Iweala knew his long-gestating novel had problems. In the acknowledgments he thanks his editor for her “tolerance of tabletops full of index cards instead of pages of text.”
-NY Times

Synopsis

"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 | 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

 

About Uzodinma Iweala

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Uzodinma Iweala is the author of Beasts of No Nation, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2007 he was selected as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he lives in New York City and Abuja, Nigeria.
 
Published March 6, 2018 by Harper. 229 pages
Genres: Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Speak No Evil
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Rumaan Alam on Mar 15 2018

A writer cannot be judged for his project, only its execution. Uzodinma Iweala is a fine and confident novelist. Genre is a useful thing when organizing texts in a bookshop, but immaterial to the particular exchange between writer and reader.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Mar 05 2018

There are signs Iweala knew his long-gestating novel had problems. In the acknowledgments he thanks his editor for her “tolerance of tabletops full of index cards instead of pages of text.”

Read Full Review of Speak No Evil: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

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