• How Beautiful We Were by Mbue Imbolo Mbue

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ISBN 9781838851354

'A formidable storyteller' JONATHAN FRANZEN

Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, How Beautiful We Were tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water.

Promises of clean-up and financial reparations are made - and ignored. The country's government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest only. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back.

But their fight will come at a steep price . . .

one which generation after generation will have to pay.

Told through the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula, 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 onto its ancestral land and a young woman's willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people's freedom.


  • Format:
    • Paperback
    • 368 pages
  • Publisher:Canongate Books
  • Imprint:Canongate Books
  • ISBN:9781838851354
  • Published:11 Mar 2021
  • Classifications:
    • Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
  • Dimensions:214 x 135 (mm)
  • Pub. Country:GB
  • Language:English