Although it takes place a decade ago, this story of an immigrant family with a tenuous hold on a future in America seems especially timely today. Two couples -- Cameroonian immigrants Jende and Neni Jonga and Lehman Brothers executive Clark Edwards and his wife Cindy-- are striving for very different versions of the American dream. Their lives become intertwined when Clark hires Jende as his chauffeur. The collapse of Lehman Brothers dramatically changes all their lives, but it's the decisions each of them makes that have the most devastating repercussions. Mbue has created characters that are believable and -- sometimes surprisingly -- sympathetic. They struggle with fear, despair, and loss, they cling to the importance of family, and they come through with new visions of home and happiness.
Nozias, a widower and struggling fisherman, makes an agonizing decision – to give his seven-year old daughter Claire to someone he believes can give her a better life. As soon as the decision is made, Claire disappears. Danticat writes calmly and beautifully about hardship, heartbreak, and unexpected connections in a small seaside community.