Speak No Evil (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Speak No Evil is a timely and heartbreaking coming-of-age story, shared between two privileged Harvard friends who are struggling to express their truths against expectations that seem to define them. Niru, a Nigerian immigrant aspiring to be a doctor, can’t tell his religious, conservative parents he is gay. Meredith, daughter of D.C.’s political elite, is unable to speak out about what really happened in an alley outside a bar one night. Their stories are in the hands of critically acclaimed author, Uzodinma Iweala, who exposes the realities of our society in this beautifully written compact piece of contemporary fiction!” —Stephanie Coleman

— Stephanie Coleman

March 2018 Indie Next List

“'This is who I am.' 'This is what happened to me.' These are the simplest of expressions, yet the ability to speak them fully is a privilege not shared by the teenaged protagonists of this novel. Nigerian immigrant and Harvard-accepted aspiring doctor Niru is not able to tell his conservative religious parents that he is gay. The daughter of D.C.'s political elite, Meredith is not able to tell the world what really happened in an alley outside a bar on a hot spring night. Speak No Evil describes how loving relationships are strained, how trust is shattered, and how bodies can be broken when the truth is silenced. This heartbreakingly beautiful story will stay with you for a long time.”
— Jill Zimmerman, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI


"A lovely slender volume that packs in entire worlds with complete mastery. Speak No Evil explains so much about our times and yet is never anything less than a scintillating, page-turning read."--Gary Shteyngart

"A wrenching, tightly woven story about many kinds of love and many kinds of violence. Speak No Evil probes deeply but also with compassion the cruelties of a loving home. Iweala's characters confront you in close-up, as viscerally, bodily alive as any in contemporary fiction."--Larissa MacFarquhar

In the long-anticipated novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he's a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer--an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders--and the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

In the tradition of Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, Speak No Evil explores what it means to be different in a fundamentally conformist society and how that difference plays out in our inner and outer struggles. It is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people. As heart-wrenching and timely as his breakout debut, Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala's second novel cuts to the core of our humanity and leaves us reeling in its wake.

A 2018 Indie Next Pick - One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of 2018 - One of Bustle's 35 Most Anticipated Fiction Books Of 2018 - One of Paste's 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2018 - One of The Boston Globe's 25 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018

Product Details
ISBN: 9780061284922
ISBN-10: 0061284920
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Pages: 224
Language: English