restricted access Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya (review)
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Julie Iromuanya, Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2015), 292 pp.

In her debut novel, Julie Iromuanya presents the American dream with an honesty that lays bare the contradictions, hopes, and fears that shape the quintessential immigrant experience in the United States. Her protagonists, Job and Ifi, a Nigerian couple in an arranged marriage, constantly work to maintain the illusion of having "made it" in America, an illusion that is always on the verge of being shattered by the realities of class and racial differences in their adopted country. The story weaves between contemporary Nebraska and Nigeria, as well as haunting memories of the Biafran war, in order to show the complex weight of generations of hopes and expectations that fuel Ifi's and Job's dreams. Their encounters with other Nigerians and Americans in the United States highlight the unexpected reality of their shared humanity across seemingly irreconcilable differences of race, class, and national origin. Iromuanya's prose is both thoughtful and effortless, and her characters stay with the reader long after the story's end. Mr. and Mrs. Doctor makes an important contribution to ongoing conversations about contemporary constructions of diaspora, particularly when juxtaposed with Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah and Dinaw Mengetsu's The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. [End Page 75]