They Dream in Gold

Mai Sennaar

A mouthwatering delight. A reader traverses half the globe through this story, becomes a singer and a dancer and a chef; and is welcomed into a formidable community of women where love is the unshakeable glue.

- Sarah Jessica Parker, SJP Lit

For fans of Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis and Abi Daré’s The Girl with the Louding Voice comes a stunning literary debut about one intercultural family’s search for home and the power of a lifelong dream.





Page count




Sale date

July 30, 2024


6 x 9

About the Book

It is summer 1969 in the Swiss countryside, and the house on the hill is busy. In the kitchen, Mama Eva and her sisters sing along to Congolese rumba, season fish, and pound garlic in preparation for the realization of a childhood dream: the grand opening of her Senegalese restaurant. Upstairs, African American daughter-in-law Bonnie paces across the floorboards, hopelessly waiting for news from the father of her unborn child.

Mansour has been gone for three months. His tour was only meant to last three weeks, but he and his band have yet to return.


In Mansour’s absence, the people he left behind reckon with their memories of him: Mama Eva remembers his birth along a riverbank in rural Senegal; his aunt, the first time she saw him begging in the market; his childhood friend, the day he arrived in Paris. As Bonnie’s anxieties mount, she plays his melodies in her head, calmed by the ghost of his voice, and putting a plan in action to find him.


Through tales that span generations and continents, these women paint Mansour’s life in vivid color, and soon, both the lingering questions of their pasts and the truth of his disappearance are revealed.


Epic in scope but intimate in its portraiture, They Dream in Gold is a kaleidoscopic novel exploring the diasporic hunger for belonging. Moving through the hotbeds of the African Diaspora—from colonial West Africa on the brink of revolution to Brazil during Carnival season—it is a deeply affecting ode to the people and places that shape our identities, and a powerful testament to our shared humanity.


“A symphonic feat of wisdom and breathtaking verve, They Dream in Gold is a revelation of a novel that readers won’t soon forget. Spanning continents and decades of sociopolitical changes, this wholly original, whirlwind story deftly illuminates the tensions of art and humanity with fresh language and vivid characters. Mai Sennaar is a rare, daring talent who wrings emotion and beauty from each page, each word, and leaves you thirsting for more still.”

- Thao Thai, author of Banyan Moon