cover image Mr. and Mrs. Doctor

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor

Julie Iromuanya. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-56689-397-8

Iromuanya's debut novel opens during the awkward wedding night in Nigeria between arranged couple Job and Ifi Ogbonnaya. Although naturally wary of her new mate, Ifi believes her husband is a successful, wealthy doctor in America, but he's actually a nurse's assistant who failed out of the University of Nebraska. Ifi is also unaware that Job married a twice-divorced American named Cheryl in exchange for a green card years earlier, and then divorced her before marrying Ifi. Financially challenged Cheryl resurfaces before Ifi arrives in her new home, asking for funds. The crux of Iromuanya's world lies in Job's vast capacity for continued delusions of grandeur. No matter how dire the circumstances, Job manages to find a way to manufacture superiority: "The more he spoke, the bigger the promises, the larger he felt." Iromuanya skillfully explores the cultural challenges Job and Ifi encounter within their Nebraska community, rendering a complex, rich portrait of their lives. (May)