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.
"The novel reveals a mastery of craft and depth of engagement with its subject matter--the way in which people make commodities of the sacred. It deserves, and is likely to find, a wide and enthusiastic readership and earn critical acclaim."
--Chinua Achebe, author of "Things Fall Apart"
"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
"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
Okey Ndibe teaches African and African Diaspora literatures at Brown University. He earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Connecticut College, Bard College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). He is also the author of "Arrows of Rain "and has served on the editorial board of "Hartford Courant "where his essays won national and state awards. He lives in West Hartford, CT, with his wife, Sheri, and their three children.