Foreign Gods, Inc.: Book summary and reviews of Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe

Foreign Gods, Inc.

by Okey Ndibe

Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2014
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Foreign Gods, Inc., tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery.

Ike's plan is fueled by desperation. Despite a degree in economics from a major American college, his strong accent has barred him from the corporate world. Forced to eke out a living as a cab driver, he is unable to manage the emotional and material needs of a temperamental African American bride and a widowed mother demanding financial support. When he turns to gambling, his mounting losses compound his woes.

And so he travels back to Nigeria to steal the statue, where he has to deal with old friends, family, and a mounting conflict between those in the village who worship the deity, and those who practice Christianity.

A meditation on the dreams, promises and frustrations of the immigrant life in America; the nature and impact of religious conflicts; an examination of the ways in which modern culture creates or heightens infatuation with the "exotic," including the desire to own strange objects and hanker after ineffable illusions; and an exploration of the shifting nature of memory, Foreign Gods is a brilliant work of fiction that illuminates our globally interconnected world like no other.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Neither fable nor melodrama, nor what's crudely niched as "world literature," the novel traces the story of a painstakingly-crafted protagonist and his community caught up in the inescapable allure of success defined in Western terms." - Publishers Weekly

"A close associate of the late, great Chinua Achebe, Okey Ndibe adds his voice to a new generation of writers." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Ndibe writes of cultural clash in a moving way that makes Ike's march toward disaster inexorable and ineffably sad." - Kirkus

"With piercing psychological insight and biting commentary on the challenges faced by immigrants, the novel is as full-blooded and fierce as the war deity who drives the story." - Booklist

"We clearly have a fresh talent at work here. It is quite a while since I sensed creative promise on this level." - Wole Soyinka, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

"Foreign Gods, Inc. reads like the narrative of a taxi-driving Faust in modern Nigeria and America. With Moliere-like humorous debunking of religious hypocrisy and rancid materialism, it teems with characters and situations that make you laugh in order not to cry." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o, author of Wizard of the Crow

"Foreign Gods, Inc. is a blistering exploration of the contemporary African immigrant experience in America. Ndibe tackles tough questions: from the shifting notions of home and identity to the nature of greed." - Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters Street

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Okey Ndibe teaches African and African Diaspora literatures at Brown University. He earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Connecticut College, Bard College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). He is also the author of Arrows of Rain and has served on the editorial board of Hartford Courant where his essays won national and state awards. He lives in West Hartford, CT, with his wife, Sheri, and their three children.

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