Speak No Evil

“Everything is always life threatening,” Meredith tells Niru.

She means to be dismissive toward the weatherwoman on her television, the D.C. snowstorm outside. It’s just a storm. The storm passes. Ahead lies spring, track meets, graduation, Harvard, destiny.

But Niru has finally admitted to himself, and to Meredith, that he is probably gay, a fact that will not be accepted by his conservative Nigerian parents but remains inconveniently true. Meredith disappears in the dark house.

In Uzodinma Iweala’s novel Speak No Evil, now out in paperback, the storm’s effects are not immediate—spring arrives, and the track meets—but they are catastrophic.

Meredith tries to nudge Niru into dating by installing Tinder and Grindr into his phone, but he chickens out on coffee, and his father sees some notifications on his phone—then opens the browsing history on Niru’s computer. After Niru’s father splits his lip, they board a plane back to Nigeria, where a bishop at a lawn table will initiate a vigil. Niru must purge his sinful thoughts. 

But this is only part of the story of Niru and Meredith. Part One is titled “Niru.” Part Two is titled “Meredith.” PLEASE READ

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala, from Harper Perennial