“A novel with the richness and power of a great contemporary fable, and a heroine for our time.”


Just finished How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
Audio version.
This beautifully rendered but sad story is about a small town in Africa called Kosawa and it’s long battle against an American oil company named Pexton and also against its own government, who because they share in Pexton’s large profits, turn a blind eye to the problems that are being created by the oil company. The water around the village is going bad and the fields around the town are constantly damaged by oil spills and the daily toll of oil drilling.

It’s also a story about a family in the village with a girl named Thula, who will become a leader in the community and it’s fight against the company and the government.
Beginning with both sides creating small incidents that involve violence and a few deaths things slowly escalate to a higher level when promises are broken and the government offers no assistance.

While this is fiction it is compelling enough to have a strong feel of the truth to it. The story is beautifully told and the anguish of the villagers comes in loud and clear. The fear of their own government is all too real.
The fear that causes dissension among the villagers comes through with a vividness that can only lead to sympathy to these people, with no political power and a fight that feels that can’t be won.
Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 27th January 2022

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Richard Franco