by Imbolo Mbue
3 March 2022
'Sweeping and quietly devastating' New York Times 'A David and Goliath story for our times' O, the Oprah Magazine Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, this is the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water.
Promises of clean-up and financial reparations are made - and broken. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. But it will come at a steep price - one which generation after generation will have to pay.
How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community's determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman's willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people's freedom.