Newlywed Nigerian expats in America attempt to cement their careers and social standing as an ex’s return threatens the life they're building.
Job Ogbonnaya has returned to his Nigerian homeland for an arranged marriage with Ifi, who has been seduced by Job’s reputation as a big doctor in America. Job has also promised to send Ifi to an American university to study nursing. But after a rocky beginning in which Ifi is repulsed by Job’s rough sexual advances—everything Job “knew about sex he learned from American pornography”—things only get worse. Job isn't a doctor with a fancy house; he's a nurse’s aide living in a run-down walk-up. With one year left on his student visa, he dropped out of college; his American citizenship is the result of a green-card marriage to a twice-divorced woman from Nebraska. And when Ifi learns the truth about Job from his scheming ex-wife, Iromuanya embarks on a masterful exploration of the interplay of desire, loyalty, and ambition. Ifi has no desire to admit Job’s failure to the world and lose the respect of her Nigerian community back home, but Job has no desire to make good on his ongoing promises of medical school and a better life in America. And so the masquerade continues, the clock counting down on just how long Job and Ifi’s charade can last. This refreshingly well-drawn debut novel is peopled with lively, engrossing characters who reflect a sophisticated understanding of human nature and relationships.
Against a backdrop of the micro- and macroaggressions African expats endure in the West, Iromuanya presents a fascinating and often hilarious drama of marriage, highlighting the discrepancies between who we say we are and who we really are.