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Oprah’s Book Club Pick for 2017 Is a Story Set During the Lehman Brothers Collapse

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo MbueBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Left, the cover of "Behold the Dreamers;" right, author Imbolo Mbue.Cover and photo courtesy Random House Books

Oprah Winfrey appeared on CBS This Morning today to reveal the latest addition to her enduringly popular book club.

Her pick? Behold the Dreamers, the debut novel by Cameroonian-American author Imbolo Mbue. The book won the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction and landed on notable book lists by the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, and many others.

“It’s everything our culture is grappling with right now, at least many of the things about race and class, about the economy, immigration, the dangers of us versus them mentality,” Winfrey said on CBS. “So when you read it, it’ll feel very modern, like it’s happening right now. And underneath the story pumps everything we love about a story: heart and soul of family love, the pursuit of happiness and actually what home really means.”

The novel focuses on Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem who in 2007 lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Jende and his wife Neni begin to embrace the American Dream—though the reality is more complicated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers during the global financial crisis threatens the jobs of both Edwards and Jonga and dramatically upends the lives of both their families.

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