Yesterday was World Book Day and I hope you read something more thrilling than Okey Ndibe’s ‘Foreign Gods, Inc.’
Like every other bookworm strangely drawn to a particular book, I examined the back cover before purchasing. With soaring reviews from ‘The New York Times,’ ‘Los Angeles Times’ and ‘GQ,’ I was willing to overlook the fact that this was a novel.
The book’s main character, Ike Uzondu, is a Nigerian immigrant who drives a cab in New York City. In a rash effort to become a legal resident, he marries a women that the author attempts to portray as selfish and needy. But Ike’s resentment at having to support his wife’s shopping and then finance their divorce somehow feels empty and unconvincing. Readers do not get to really understand her motives, this lack of depth makes the depiction seem one-sided and untrustworthy.
In an effort to pull himself out of debt from his gambling addiction (another unnecessary plot addition), Ike decides to fly back to his African village to steal the statue of war deity, Ngene, and sell it to a specialized store in New York. Upon his return though, he is confronted with family issues, a shady pastor forcing Christianity on the locals and, of course, the challenge of getting the statue back to America.
Although there are great sensory details that allow readers to visualize this unfamiliar place, there were also moments when the details felt too far-fetched, ultimately reminding readers of the book’s fictional premise. ‘Foreign Gods, Inc.’ therefore lacks the ability to pull readers in and make the novel a true page-turner.
Another issue was the inconclusive ending. It left me wanting more, but not in a good way. I wanted answers! A cliff hanger only is successful if the author provides adequate details for the reader to figure the rest out on their own.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 10. Sorry Ndibe, I refuse to jump on the bandwagon.