Synopses & Reviews
Foreign Gods, Inc.,
tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery.
Ike's plan is fueled by desperation. Despite a degree in economics from a major American college, his strong accent has barred him from the corporate world. Forced to eke out a living as a cab driver, he is unable to manage the emotional and material needs of a temperamental African American bride and a widowed mother demanding financial support. When he turns to gambling, his mounting losses compound his woes.
And so he travels back to Nigeria to steal the statue, where he has to deal with old friends, family, and a mounting conflict between those in the village who worship the deity, and those who practice Christianity.
A meditation on the dreams, promises and frustrations of the immigrant life in America; the nature and impact of religious conflicts; an examination of the ways in which modern culture creates or heightens infatuation with the "exotic," including the desire to own strange objects and hanker after ineffable illusions; and an exploration of the shifting nature of memory, Foreign Gods is a brilliant work of fiction that illuminates our globally interconnected world like no other.
“We clearly have a fresh talent at work here. It is quite a while since I sensed creative promise on this level.” Wole Soyinka, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
"Foreign Gods, Inc. reads like the narrative of a taxi-driving Faust in modern Nigeria and America. With Moliere-like humorous debunking of religious hypocrisy and rancid materialism, it teems with characters and situations that make you laugh in order not to cry." Ngugi wa Thiong'o, author of Wizard of the Crow
"Foreign Gods, Inc. is a blistering exploration of the contemporary African immigrant experience in America. Ndibe tackles tough questions: from the shifting notions of home and identity to the nature of greed. In prose which is fresh and often funny, Ndibe draws the reader into the heartbreaking story of Ike Uzondu's attempt to survive in a world which seems determined to crush him." Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters Street
"Neither fable nor melodrama, nor what's crudely niched as 'world literature,' the novel traces the story of a painstakingly-crafted protagonist and his community caught up in the inescapable allure of success defined in Western terms." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"A challenging romp of gods and styles." John Edgar Wideman, author of Philadelphia Fire
About the Author
Okey Ndibe teaches fiction and African literature at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He is the author of the novel Arrows of Rain, which has drawn praise from numerous critics and authors, including Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, John Edgar Wideman, Michael Thelwell, and Niyi Osundare. Ndibe also co-edited (with Chenjerai Hove) a book titled Writers, Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa. Ndibe is the founding editor of African Commentary, a magazine published in the U.S. by novelist Chinua Achebe.