Virtual Event: Imbolo Mbue
How Beautiful We Were:
in conversation with YIYUN LI
March 15, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
$33.25 (book included)
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes IMBOLO MBUE—author of the bestselling, PEN/Faulkner Award–winning Behold the Dreamers—for a discussion of her latest, highly anticipated novel, How Beautiful We Were. She will be joined in conversation by writer and editor YIYUN LI, author of Must I Go, Where Reasons End, and Kinder Than Solitude.
There are two ticket options available for this event:
Admission Ticket - $33.25: Includes one admission link and one hardcover copy of How Beautiful We Were. US shipping also included. Books will be shipped to ticket-holders following the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.
Pay-What-You-Can Ticket: Includes one admission link. We suggest a $5 donation to support Harvard Book Store's staff and our virtual event series during these difficult times. Thank you for your support!
About How Beautiful We Were
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 of a people living in fear amid environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of cleanup and financial reparations to the villagers are made—and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interests. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle will last for decades and come at a steep price.
Told from 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 on to its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.
Praise for How Beautiful We Were
“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.’ It is a masterful novel by a spellbinding writer engaged with the most urgent questions of our day.” —David Ebershoff, bestselling author of The Danish Girl
“How Beautiful We Were goes to the heart of one of the most urgent matters of the day. The highly suspenseful story of an African village’s struggle for survival and justice in the face of ruthless American corporate greed is written with remarkable acuity and compassion. Mbue has given us a book with the richness and power of a great contemporary fable, and a heroine for our time.” —Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend, winner of the National Book Award
“Imbolo Mbue is a storyteller of astonishing gifts, which she uses in her second novel to lead us deep into the lives of a village decimated by environmental devastation and corporate greed. How Beautiful We Were reminds me of how interconnected we remain, no matter who or where we are.” —Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
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