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New York, My Village

A Novel

by Uwem Akpan

New York, My Village by Uwem Akpan X
New York, My Village by Uwem Akpan
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  • Published Nov 2021
    400 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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There are currently 21 member reviews
for New York, My Village
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  • Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)
    I started out really enjoying this book and the odd adventures of Ekong but about midway through the book I was struggling.
  • Viqui G. (State College, PA)
    Coming to America
    I enjoyed the first third of this novel very much. I was interested but appalled by the difficulties that Ekong and other Nigerians must endure just to get a visa to enter the U.S. The backbiting at work and racism that Ekong had to deal with were also eye opening, but believable. However, I got bogged down with the history of the Biafran war and the tribalism in Nigeria. I felt that there was too much back history of that war which I didn't understand and which seemed irrelevant to the story arc. I assume Akpan included this history to compare the tribalism in Nigeria to the racism in the United States between blacks, Hispanics, Asians and whites. It just seemed to be overdone. Finally, I found the bedbug dilemma to be interminable and constantly depressing. I understand that Ekong felt the same way, but as a reader, it just wasn't that interesting after a few hundred pages.
  • Suzanne G. (Tucson, AZ)
    In order to keep reading this book, and therefore needing to concentrate, I seemed to have a time keeping the plot straight. The use of another language (and having little sense of translation) was a frequent aggravation. Bedbugs seemed irrelevant most of the time and didn't add much to the story. But, I did find myself laughing with some events during the progression of the book, so I did find some humor. I honestly can't report I liked NEW YORK, MY VILLAGE.

    And I must say I was certainly unaware that African tribes still were warring. Maybe I need to go somewhat beyond my comfort zone to educate myself—
  • Julie Z. (Oak Park, IL)
    New York, My Village
    Ekong Udousoro is a Nigerian editor. When he wins the Toni Morrison publishing fellowship, he moves to NYC to edit an anthology of stories of the Biafran war. He is given a job at a large publishing house. From the start of his time in New York, he has countless issues adapting to his new life- most of the issues stemming from the racism that he encounters day to day. He takes an apartment in Hell's Kitchen, which he soon finds out is infested with bed bugs. The bed bugs continue through the entire novel, becoming a symbol of the racism he encounters.

    The character of Ekong is extremely likable. His reactions to New York are almost as if seen through the eyes of a child- he gets excited by all that is new. Starbucks becomes his refuge. And the novel is infused with humor even when problems seem insurmountable.

    I received an ARC of New York, My Village in exchange for a short review. What I read was pre-publication. I feel there was a choppiness to the telling of Ekong's story that could have done with a good edit, but I enjoyed the book (and also learned much about Nigerian and the Biafran war).
  • Lynne Z. (San Francisco, CA)
    A Mixed Review
    Before reading New York, My Village I had little knowledge of Nigeria and the Biafran Civil War. Uwem Akpan's novel interwove the history of Nigeria with storytelling from many perspectives. Not only do we hear the story of Ekong, the narrator, who comes to America on a four-month fellowship. We also hear stories of family members in Africa and America, neighbors in New York, and colleagues at the publishing company. Through these stories the themes of cultural misunderstanding, racism, guilt and the need for human contact unfold. The main characters were complex, and Akpan was not afraid to show their strengths and their flaws. That said, I thought the book was too long. The meanings of many of the Anaang expressions interspersed in conversations was not evident. Songs were not translated. Although other readers have found parts of the book humorous, I found them tedious (e.g., the bedbugs).
  • Karen S. (Epping, NH)
    Strong Beginning
    This book started out strong. But somewhere around page 300 I lost interest and skimmed the last 70 pages.

    The parts about publishing were very interesting. Also Ekong trying to navigate life in NYC as a foreigner from Nigeria was excellent and I wished more of the book was dedicated to that. But the bedbugs creeped me out and it went on way too long for me. I'm sure the author had a reason but it was lost on me. I really enjoyed Say You're One of Them and was excited to receive this ARC and I want to thank BookBrowse and W.W. Norton & Company
  • Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)
    Love Africa but not this book
    I stopped reading after 120 pages. Never did connect with the publishing office employees. Watching Ekong gradually find his footing in NYC was interesting but the interaction with his family in the US and his overseas wife were superficial. I wanted to like this book but didn't finish it.
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