Synopses & Reviews
A deeply moving debut novel set amid the perilous world of Nigerian email scams, I Do Not Come to You by Chance tells the story of one young man and the family who loves him.
Being the opera of the family, Kingsley Ibe is entitled to certain privileges--a piece of meat in his egusi soup, a party to celebrate his graduation from university. As first son, he has responsibilities, too. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola. Dear, sweet Ola, the sugar in Kingsley's tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price.
It hasn't always been like this. For much of his young life, Kingsley believed that education was everything, that through wisdom, all things were possible. Now he worries that without a "long-leg"--someone who knows someone who can help him--his degrees will do nothing but adorn the walls of his parents' low-rent house. And when a tragedy befalls his family, Kingsley learns the hardest lesson of all: education may be the language of success in Nigeria, but it's money that does the talking.
Unconditional family support may be the way in Nigeria, but when Kingsley turns to his Uncle Boniface for help, he learns that charity may come with strings attached. Boniface--aka Cash Daddy--is an exuberant character who suffers from elephantiasis of the pocket. He's also rumored to run a successful empire of email scams. But he can help. With Cash Daddy's intervention, Kingsley and his family can be as safe as a tortoise in its shell. It's up to Kingsley now to reconcile his passion for knowledge with his hunger for money, and to fully assume his role of first son. But can he do it without being drawn into this outlandish milieu?
"In this highly entertaining novel about Nigerian Internet scammers, Kingsley Ibe is an engineering school graduate who can't find a job and still lives at home with his family. After his girlfriend rejects him and his father dies, Kingsley is taken on by his Uncle Boniface (aka Cash Daddy), who is in the business of Internet scams, otherwise known as 419s. Soon, Kingsley is writing e-mail solicitations to the gullible of cyberspace, and any qualms he may have had about ripping off innocent people evaporate as he steps into the good life with a big new house, a Lexus and a new love interest (who doesn't know how Kingsley 'earns' his money). Meanwhile, Cash Daddy develops political ambitions and gains some ruthless enemies bent on crushing him. As the plots converge, Kingsley must decide whether to sell his soul to build a 419 kingdom. Although the narrative follows a somewhat predictable trajectory, Kingsley's engaging voice and the story's vividly rendered setting prove that while crime may not pay, writing about it as infectiously as Nwaubani does certainly pays off for the reader." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
We've all seen the scams--those infamous 419 emails (named after a section of Nigerian law), that invade inboxes daily with a plea: Dear Friend, I'm a retired barrister. I alone know the existence of this ten million dollar deposit. I am looking for your assistance... But there are real people writing these emails, even if what they say isn't true. In Adaobi Nwaubani's vivid, often hilarious debut novel, we learn how one young man gets sucked into the 419 world, losing himself in the process. Kingsley is fresh out of university, eager to find an engineering job so he can support his family--descended into poverty after his father fell ill--and marry his sweetheart, Ola. But jobs are not easy to come by, and out of desperation he turns to his uncle, Cash Daddy, who runs a successful empire of 419 scams. Unconditional family support is the Nigerian way, but the hand Cash Daddy extends in charity has consequences. As Kingsley is drawn into this outlandish milieu, he soon realizes that nothing in Nigeria comes for free. Like Monica Ali, Kiran Desai, and Lisa See, Adaobi Nwaubani captures her distinct world in unputdownable ways. Accomplished, lyrical, and enlightening, this is a debut that is destined to stand out.
About the Author
Adaobi Nwaumbani grew up in the Eastern part of Nigeria, among the Igbo speaking people who are actually the major culprits of 419. This is her first novel.