How Beautiful We Were

How Beautiful We Were

From the celebrated author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers, comes a sweeping, wrenching story about the collision of a small African village and an America oil company.

"We should have known the end was near."

So begins Imbolo Mbue’s powerful second novel, How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company.

Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations to the villagers are made—and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle would last for decades and come at a steep price.

Told through the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.

"The unforgettable story of a community on the wrong end of Western greed, How Beautiful We Were will enthrall you, appall you, and show you what is possible when a few people stand up and say this is not right. A masterful novel by a spellbinding writer engaged with the most urgent questions of our day.”—David Ebershoff, bestselling author of The Danish Girl

Title:How Beautiful We Were
ISBN:9780593132425
Format Type:

    How Beautiful We Were Reviews

  • Liz

    I was a big fan of Behold The Dreamers, so I was anxious to read Mbue’s sophomore effort. This time, the story takes place in a fictional African village that has been ravaged by environmental degra...

  • Beata

    A novel with many themes that are essential for understanding Africa: slavery, land exploitation, white man indifference to the plight of the indiginous communities, traditions and myths and many more...

  • Emer (A Little Haze)

    I was incredibly impressed by Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel Behold the Dreamers when I read it in 2017 and knew that this was an author whose work I would want to return to in the future.In this second ...

  • Jessica | JustReadingJess

    How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue is a moving story about a fictional African Village told from multiple perspectives. An American oil company causes devastating problems for the people and land. T...

  • BookOfCinz

    I know nothing about how a girl makes men pay for their crimes, but I have the rest of my life to figure it out. This book was worth the wait, when you read it, you will see why!In Imbolo Mbue’s s...

  • Rose

    I just read How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue This is a story about a small African village and an American oil company. It is narrated by a generation of children, and family members of a daughter...

  • Nancy

    I read Imbolo Mbue's first novel Behold the Dreamers as a galley and for book club. I jumped at the chance to read her second novel, How Beautiful We Were. Was money so important that they would sell ...

  • lark benobi

    There are alternating narrative voices employed in this novel, and they all are imbued with a quality of narrative style that I would call "folk-elegiac," a technique where the author wants to capture...

  • Naori

    3.5 Review to ensue......

  • Lisa of Troy

    Watch my video review here including the true story behind this book: https://youtu.be/Yva_hnrdFRkWow! If you read one book this year, this is it. Here is hoping that this book starts a movement.How B...