Reading more diversely seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. I read to escape, so I love reading about other places and experiences far from my own. That is what attracted me to Foreign Gods Inc by Okey Ndibe. The story follows a Nigerian cab driver from New York on his quest back to his home village to steal the local god. This he hoped to convert into fast cash at a posh art shop back in New York. Yeah, this is pretty far from my own experience.
I ended up having very mixed feelings about the novel. I felt that the parts that took place in New York were well written and engaging. Before I started the book I was most looking forward to the parts set in Nigeria, but to me those sections fell short. In particular, Ndibe spent far too many pages recounting the fate of an early missionary to his village. On the other hand, the speech and diction of some of the village characters was brilliant.
So where does that leave me? Well, it has been about a week since i read the book, and over all my feeling are more positive than negative. The story was interesting, the perils of an America-returned villager were well cast and the family dynamics were heart breaking.
Who would like this book? This book appealed to the traveler in me. I love the exotic and to me Nigerian village is exotic, as is the life of a cabbie in New York. In some ways Foreign Gods Inc was reminiscent of Ghana Must Go. Both recount the experiences of African immigrants to the United States, and what it is like to return home. However, Ghana Must Go was a more finely crafted novel and more literary. Foreign Gods Inc is a faster read, that still provides valuable insight.
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Since I’ve been reading more diversely, I do find myself mulling over books and giving myself more time to decide exactly what I think. I’m often a little more torn about their content than books that are more mainstream or specifically written for me as the audience. But that’s not a bad thing! I love when books make me mull a bit. 🙂
I appreciated your weighing up the pros and cons of the novel – will take your experience under advisement 😉
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