In this dazzling debut by a singular new talent, the sprawling, swampy, cacophonous city of Lagos, Nigeria, provides the backdrop to the story of Elvis, a teenage. Abani’s debut novel offers a searing chronicle of a young man’s coming of age in Nigeria during the late s and early s. The vulnerable. By switching between flashbacks and the present, and sprinkling in some gritty scenes (child rape) and colorful detail (quoting John Wayne).

Author: Fenritaur Babei
Country: Philippines
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Technology
Published (Last): 7 June 2017
Pages: 438
PDF File Size: 18.71 Mb
ePub File Size: 20.11 Mb
ISBN: 872-9-94926-754-3
Downloads: 4341
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Goltilmaran

And from that lunch over fried chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese, I would imagine Abani is a helluva teacher. Except the poor sods who live in the dark slum that you’re describing so lovingly for your audience.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

Graceland is a testament to the shock and awe practice of today’s geopolitics. And he influenced people like Fela Kuti. I wonder how much of Elvis’ story is autobiographical of Mr.

Apr 25, Bjorn rated it liked it Shelves: Here is what Abani tells Tayari Jones about the scene in an April interview gracland The Believer when she asks for his thoughts on “global blackness”. Elvis is uncomfortable at becoming involved, however tangentially, in drug trafficking, and the criminal world in which he and his friend get caught up is engaged in far more horrifying things.

He suffers through hours of practice set to the tinny tunes emanating from the radio in the filthy shack he shares with his alcoholic father, his stepmother and his stepsiblings.

‘Graceland’ is a study in Nigeria’s many contrasts

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Return to Book Page. In addition to structure, I found the climax riveting and terrifying. Jun 18, Carolyn rated it really liked it.

When the bulldozers and police return, this time with more resources, Sunday leads the charge and dies in the battle that consumes and overtakes Maroko. Abani’s debut novel offers a searing chronicle of a young man’s coming of age in Nigeria during the late s and early s. The period of free elections was short-lived in any case, as a military coup replaced the civilian government.


He’s the head of a traveling theatrical group of singers, dancers, musicians and actors who perform in remote villages. For one thing, “It was essentialist, maybe even prejudiced, because the culture he spoke of was Igbo, only one of nearly three hundred indigenous people in this populous country.

We see the results in alcoholism, rape, and domestic violence. And yet beyond that, he was that scar, carved by hate and smallness and fear onto the world’s face.

‘Graceland’ is a study in Nigeria’s many contrasts – latimes

He also cherishes the journal kept by his mother, although it seems to contain little more than recipes. View Full Version of PW. Shaun Randol founded The Mantle in Despite all of this, there is a fine silver thread of hope and beauty woven throughout the story, and it kept me going. If you choose to read this book, get ready for an experience unlike any other. This is the book selection from Nigeria for the World Cup of Literature.

The editorial failed to mention that their wealth had been made over the years with the help of crooked politicians, criminal soldiers, bent contractors, and greedy oil company executives. Dec 24, Kevin Warman rated it it was amazing. Throughout the book, Abani describes the Igbo ritual surrounding the kola nut, tribal affiliation, and the degrees of respect, authority, and relation prescribed in the ritual.

He talks about the concept of the African extended family, saying so much in his description of a distant cousin still being Elvis’ “brother”. I feel grateful for this book. A Nigerian-born poet and first-novelist limns a teenage boy struggling for direction in Lagos under the heel of a brutal military dictatorship. The tale about Elvis’ life in Lagos, his relationships with his family esp. His dreams and hopes feed off movies and music, which are then appropriated and made new by his Nigerian culture.

Because after finishin I had lunch with Chris Abani last week. May 25, Cat rated it it was amazing. Maybe I took too long reading it. But what bugged me about the book was the back-and-forth time element Abani used. Nov 11, David Sasaki rated it really liked it. I have never read a better book about Nigeria.


It came to me just in time. Abani is also very good at writing satirical and humorous passages. Elvis is well drawn and his story is iconic as he struggles to make his way into adulthood and often feels alienated from his culture and those around him. Redemption, who entangles Elvis into a life of crime, lifts the veil of innocence for us and our hero when he asks, “So are you telling me dat stealing bread from bakery to feed yourself and killing some boy is de same?

Details are what bring it back to Lagos each time. I mean, Abani puts together sentences like this: None of these characters are dismissible or caricatured, and Elvis builds intimate relationships with him, as he tries to figure out who to be the Elvis impersonation seems like a great metaphor for this quest to figure out how to embody masculinity.

Also, wondered how much of this was autobiographical based on what I read of his background. As Elvis gracelland from self indulgent and naive boy to awakened man, he’s initiated into the sinful ways of his world, and, like Dante, he sees firsthand how degrees of sin match degrees of survival.

If you don’t get it, we don’t care. There’s that dialogue going on all the time I absolutely loved this book. And when you take characters who speak English like Nigerian street kids it’s part of the theme, too and translate it into Swedish, it ends up sounding like an old 50s comedy half the time.