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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).

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Public Offerings Book 1: The writer wonderfully describes the significance of the Kola, the importance and power of traditional medicines and those that practice them, and the recipes are fun.

GraceLand – Wikipedia

Elvis is tempted to a life of crime by the gradeland money his friend Redemption tells him is to be had in Lago’s underworld. And I was rewarded. 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.

He was pretty much screwed from the beginning, if poverty didn’t kill him, success would; an irony as bitter as the situation in what could have been one of the richest countries in Africa. His presence throughout the novel serves as a crude, and often ignored, moral compass. The period of free avani was short-lived in any case, as a military coup replaced the civilian government.

Mar 27, Jeri Rowe rated it liked it. Abani has written such a harrowing story that just yanked on my emotions.

He reinforces stereotypes for an imbecile audience that really doesn’t need anymore proof to bolster its racist beliefs. Makota is a terrible place, in which, as you expect, a multitude of horrifying events unfold, but what sets this book apart from others which explore Nigeria’s brutal recent history is the honest examination of each excruciating and lovely detail of the protagonist’s life. Abani’s stories show us life balanced on the blade of a knife.


In the very first scene of the book, when the protagonist Elvis is awoken by a pounding Nigerian rainstorm, we read this: Sprinkled throughout the book are recipes and entries from Elvis’s mother’s journal, as well as descriptions of the kola nut ceremony through which an Igbo boy becomes a man.

And so instead, having to make a living somehow, he gets pulled into both criminal and political conflicts – which, in a military dictatorship the book is set inwith flashbacks to Elvis’ childhood is often the same thing. Feel better, more open, later. Worth reading for its searing depiction of modern Africa, but Abani is no Chinua Achebe.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

At first, Elvis found it was dizzy work just trying to keep focused, until he learned the popular trick was to sway from side to side while squinting off to the left. Jun 05, Hafeez added it. But they’re all poor and uneducated and dirty and raped. The story leaves you ramsacked, you feel like a shipwreck. In a military dictatorship, however, as Elvis discovers, politics is not merely a subject for theoretical speculation. Lists with This Book.

Here is what Abani tells Tayari Jones about the scene in an April interview in The Believer when she asks for his thoughts on “global blackness”. The tale about Elvis’ life in Lagos, his relationships with his family esp.

Oct 06, Twodogs rated it liked it.

But, although Elvis admires the King, he doesn’t think this is the answer. But the King of the Beggars, Elvis’s enigmatic yet faithful adviser, intercedes. What I like about the book is the poetry, the sheer grace of the language. This story made me laugh, cry and kiss my teeth.

To ask other readers questions about GraceLandplease sign up. When the bulldozers and police return, this time with more resources, Sunday leads the charge and dies in the battle that consumes grqceland overtakes Maroko.


Atlantic Literature: Virtue, Commerce, History, and Cuisine in the novel GraceLand by Chris Abani

Though Elvis strays from his path and is lost in the dark wood of his country in strife, his mother through her written notes on Igbo culture and her record of recipes for sustenance and medicine, reading more like prophecies, keep Elvis sane and compassionate. Worth reading for its searing depiction of modern Africa, but Abani is no Chinua Achebe.

His, and the corpses of many others, are left amidst the rubble as a message to survivors. In addition gracelnad structure, I found the climax riveting and terrifying.

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

However, this is complicated by the numerous illegal and morally questionable jobs he takes part in with his friend Redemption.

I was very moved by Abani’s exploration of masculinity, sexuality, and authority and the relationship of sex and gender to colonial exploitation and its continuing fall-out.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Starting from a, to be honest, fairly cliched story – a young man trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t want him – Abani weaves a character piece where the details get to show how it all hangs together, from kingdoms to dictatorship, from Las Vegas to Lagos, where everything you’re promised by your name or your background turns to bitter graceladn often laugh-out-loud funny irony.

Given the current political and social reality, story-telling the Dark Continent is inextricably tied to gracelad politics of representation, regardless of whether the author’s intent is benign or not.

How long can we continue to pretend we are not responsible for this? Don’t read this without knowing there is some graphic violence within, including more than one rape scene.