Ikechukwu Uzondu is a Nigerian immigrant struggling to make ends meet in New York City. He graduated cum laude from Amherst in economics, but xenophobic/provincial attitudes about his accent have kept him from finding a high-powered money job in Manhattan. Instead, he’s driving a cab and ducking increasingly desperate emails from his sister about their mother’s financial straits.
But Ike–pronounced EE-kay, not “eye-k”–has a plan. He’s heard of a gallery in New York that sells diety paraphernalia. He’ll run home to Nigeria, grab the local god from its shrine, and sell it for enough money to solve his money problems.
That’s the plan anyway. Man makes plans, and gods gonna god.
Ike is not a terribly sympathetic protagonist. Even as Murphy’s Law works against him, Ike fails to acknowledge his part in how things fall apart. He makes poor choice after poor choice; I had to set the book aside when I reached the last quarter of it because it was clear this story was not going to end well. (The ending was a bit “…” for me. My lit crit skills were not up to the task.)
This book has been in my TBR pile for a couple of years; one of those books that I keep meaning to read but don’t. I’m hoping to make more of an effort to read authors of color in 2017, especially those who aren’t steeped in the Western canon. There’s a degree of discomfort in this, which is the point and also possibly why I feel ill-equipped to rate the story. The writing is both beautiful and frustrating. Beautiful in that the turns of phrase are evocative. Frustrating in that the phrases also feel better suited oral storytelling rather than written.