Never Look an American in the Eye (Okey Ndibe)

  "Unlike my parents and grandparents, I grew up in a world in which the British were a rarity, hardly physically present. In fact, through my secondary school days, I don't remember any direct interaction with an Englishman or woman. Even so, Britain and the British exercised a claim on my imagination, on the consciousness of my generation. We read, memorized, and digested textbooks that unabashedly gave credit to the British for discovering every significant geographic landmark in Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world. One of them, a Scottish explorer named Mungo Park, had discovered the river Niger, one of Africa's most majestic bodies of water. Even though the river flows through Onitsha, my mother's hometown, it never occurred to me to wonder whether the Africans, who for millennia had lived on the banks of the great river, had all been afflicted with blindness."

"Unlike my parents and grandparents, I grew up in a world in which the British were a rarity, hardly physically present. In fact, through my secondary school days, I don't remember any direct interaction with an Englishman or woman. Even so, Britain and the British exercised a claim on my imagination, on the consciousness of my generation. We read, memorized, and digested textbooks that unabashedly gave credit to the British for discovering every significant geographic landmark in Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world. One of them, a Scottish explorer named Mungo Park, had discovered the river Niger, one of Africa's most majestic bodies of water. Even though the river flows through Onitsha, my mother's hometown, it never occurred to me to wonder whether the Africans, who for millennia had lived on the banks of the great river, had all been afflicted with blindness."

Nigeria / 2016

"Okey Ndibe’s funny, charming, and penetrating memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential—but perpetually cash-strapped—African Commentary magazine. It recounts stories of Ndibe’s relationships with Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and other luminaries; examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just thirteen days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street trickery. All these stories and more come together in a generous, encompassing book about the making of a writer and a new American." — Soho Press.