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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The vulnerable, wide-eyed protagonist is Elvis Oke, a young Nigerian with a penchant for dancing and impersonating the American rock-and-roll singer he is named after. Graceland CL first read: But great music was always gracelandd from the blues. Abani has his characters reference both Nigerian Achebe, Soyinka and Western Ellison, Dostoevsky, Marley writers to create a picture of a world that’s become an interconnected web long before modern communications made it obvious; the characters rarely set foot abxni their own city, yet thanks to the cultural, commercial and political revolutions of the past centuries they very much live in the Big World Outside.

Read it if your heart feels strong enough to bear being torn apart.

Throughout the book, Abani describes the Igbo ritual surrounding the kola nut, tribal gracelane, and the degrees of respect, authority, and relation prescribed in the ritual.

This familial fall-out of the dislocations and impoverishment of postcolonial Nigeria is also writ into the violence of the state. Elvis father is named Sunday, his best friend is named Redemption, and Elvis himself is of course named Elvis. At best, they get to choose their own encore. In addition abami structure, I found the climax riveting and terrifying. The writer wonderfully describes the significance of the Kola, the importance and power of gracwland medicines and those that practice them, and the recipes are fun.

Because unfortunately, I read a poor Swedish translation of it. The Best Books of There was something gluttonous about the scene, with the swimming pool in the background, and all the fawning attention.

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Please provide an email address. He talks about the concept of the African extended family, saying so much in his description of a distant cousin still being Elvis’ “brother”. Jun 19, Matt rated it it was ok.

I understand that this was a troubling and difficult time in the country’s history, but by the end of the book it absni like an absurdist comedy, and I just wanted it to abxni over, as opposed to feeling deeply effected and moved, as I suppose was the intent.

He befriends an interesting cast of characters that help him secure work, teach him about the world, and hasten his development. I had lunch with Chris Abani last week. But Abani is no romanticizer; he also implies that the costs of the slow violence of poverty and the rapid and inescapable violence of a military dictatorship are even heavier on women’s bodies–not only through the mother’s cancer, but also through Efua’s repeated rape by her father and eventual we think prostitution, and through a twelve-year-old girl whom Elvis attempts to shepherd through the slums.

Mar 27, Jeri Rowe rated it liked it. Paperbackpages.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

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Elvis looks elsewhere for direction and guidance. The amount varied from retailer to retailer but was usually no less than the price of the drink. I vraceland you can judge this book by its cover. A powerful exploration of the costs of colonialism registered through masculinity and sexuality. To ensure they got their bottles back, the factory charged local retailers a deposit on the bottles, which could only be redeemed when the bottles were turned in.

They are moral anchors in a world that has seemingly lost its moral compass. It is in Lagos, that Elvis quickly has to learn about the world and survival. This is your book. Possibly the most important line in the book is actually a quote from Bob Marley: Skip to main content.

Graceland Paperback

And from that lunch over fried chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese, I would imagine Abani is a helluva teacher. Notes on it structure—the grzceland story is set in …but in Book 1, every other chapter is set in the past until the timeline intersects at the end of Book 1 i.

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He is always difficult on Elvis and as the story progresses, he begins to soften in his grwceland of love for Elvis. Jul 26, Jon rated it liked it.

Emotionally a difficult read. And so, torn by the frustration of unrealizable dreams and accompanied by an eclectic chorus of voices, Elvis must find a way to a Graceland of his own making. A new writing mentor—someone I really admire. Unfortunately, like many “African” books, the characters fall under the will of corruption and violence. As his streetwise buddy, Redemption, remarks: Both are lower class artists, always with a sophisticated book tucked under their arm, with one dead parent and one abusive one.

Would love to read more by him. I enjoyed Song For Night and hoped Abani would deliver in this book. Abani veers all over the place and the book alternates between passages that are broadly satirical and comical to lurid and disturbing passages that involve incest, child rape, and torture. Elvis carries his copy of Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” as a kind of talisman.

GRACELAND by Chris Abani | Kirkus Reviews

The book he had fallen asleep reading, Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”, fell from his side to the floor, the old paperback cracking at the spine, falling neatly into two halves as precisely as if sliced by a sword. The novel can often be seen as critical of the foreign influences that operate within Nigeria.

The consequences of this is a protagonist who is hyper self-conscious. Want to Read saving…. From my experience, the interactions gracelwnd to be recipes for disappointment. Because bad press is the best kind of press there is.