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

Graceland isn’t quite up there, it’s a little too self-conscious and meandering for that, but it’s a very good read nonetheless. The author creates incredible depth of feeling and meaning through symbolism and imagery throughout the book, and the central symbol is the This book aspires to more than it achieves, but it is a wonderful and, at times, amazing first novel nonetheless.

Here is what Abani tells Tayari Jones about the scene in an April interview in In aabani very first scene of the book, when the protagonist Elvis is awoken by a pounding Nigerian rainstorm, we read this: It’s like heart yoga. There are multiple scenes in gracdland they try on make-up and contemplate homosexuality. Whether its Manila or Lagos, each soul, for better or for worse, is forced to angle their own path to survival.

I liked the feel vivid sense it gave of Nigeria at that time. This page was last edited on 21 Decemberat Pick gracfland country, any country, whether it be Thailand, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Brazil, or Mexico, Abani’s work serves as live wire transmissions of today’s “urban anonymity” from all the dark nooks of our global metropolises.

This novel is set in Maroko, a sprawling, swampy, crazy and colorful ghetto of Lagos, Nigeria, gracelznd unfolds against a backdrop of lush reggae and highlife music, American movies and a harsh urban existence. Worth reading for its searing depiction of modern Africa, but Gracelanx is no Chinua Achebe.

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. From my experience, the interactions tend to be recipes for disappointment. View Full Version of PW. Oct 06, Twodogs rated it liked it. Starting from a, to be honest, fairly cliched story – a young man trying to find his place in gracelad 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 gracelane or your background turns to bitter though often laugh-out-loud funny irony.


Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. What’s disturbing and therefore powerful about Graceland is knowing that Abani’s novel is most likely true. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Want to Read saving…. Abani is not the first Nigerian writer to paint a vivid and disturbing picture of post-colonial life in that country.

These guys had contact with Du Bois and Marcus Garvey long before they came back. The ten year old smoking the cigarette says as much about Chris Abani’s over-stated portrait of poverty in Lagos as any of the prose within.

His presence throughout the novel serves as a crude, and often ignored, moral compass. That’s about all they have left, it seems; they live in a shanty town in Lagos, Nigeria, and if there’s any meaning to the fact that Sunday is a drunk to whom every day is a day of rest, Redemption is a small-time bandit, and Elvis himself a failed dancer, it’s nothing they try to think about: Nov 11, David Sasaki rated it really liked it.

Each play tug-o-war with Elvis’ conscience. Jones is African American, but spent a year in Nigeria when her father was a Fulbright scholar there.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

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 abbani and eventual we think prostitution, and through a twelve-year-old girl whom Elvis attempts to shepherd through the slums.

Chris Abani, then, is incredibly irresponsible. Also, abanii of mention of the west’s apathy towards actually doing something in Africa, despite it’s colonial past.


The absni creates incredible depth of feeling and meaning through symbolism and imagery throughout the book, and the central symbol is the tragicomic dilemma of the protagonist, a gifted, largely self-educated boy with a drive to excel in his calling, abano, through a combination of circumstance, naivete, and willful self-delusion, settles upon a career so ludicrous and impossible and so pleasingly telling–I love this kind of writing, which often means so much more than it overtly says that even while you laugh out loud from time to time, the character is so engaging, and the book so filled with empathy and love, that you more often ache for him gracsland his country, and from time to time are simply dazzled by the beauty of his doomed efforts.

GraceLand left me satisfied, but I hope that Abani – who was raised in a mansion with cars and servents – doesn’t continue to romanticize the poor, abused artist.

This includes murder, corruption, rape, drug smuggling, human trafficking, child prostitution, torture, and theft.

Jun 18, Carolyn rated it really liked it. You will attract a spirit. This novel blew me away!

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland | The Mantle

Elvis Oke, a teenage Elvis impersonator spurred on by the triumphs of heroes in the American movies and books he devours, pursues his chosen vocation with ardent single- This novel is set in Gracelahd, a sprawling, swampy, crazy and colorful ghetto of Lagos, Nigeria, and unfolds against a backdrop of lush reggae and highlife music, American movies and a harsh urban existence. Elvis remembers the life he led eight or nine years before in the rural village of Afikpo when his kind and gentle mother, Beatrice, was still alive, and his father, Sunday, had a job as a school inspector.

The book is at its best when it sticks to the coming of age story of its protagonist, Elvis Oke. This fascinating character is more than a beggar:

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