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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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Mar 02, Kathryn rated it really liked it Shelves: Jul 03, Michelle rated it it was ok Shelves: There is a lyrical turning over, and over, and unfolding of each event, and the place each character holds in the story is revealed anew when seen again and again, now from this angle and now from that. Graceland CL first read: 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.

As a Western reader I don’t mind them, but I think its disingenuous of Abani to not own up to them. Jun 18, Carolyn rated it really liked it.


The book is just descriptive well-written poverty porn for a western audience that’s hungry for evidence hraceland supports its foregone conclusions about african poverty, brutality, filth, rape, hunger, incest, sodomy, squalor, rape, filth, more rape, poverty, and oh, also poverty.


Jun 03, R. Gambit The Art of Creating No.

Because unfortunately, I read a poor Swedish translation of it. Chris Abani Nigeria Quick Review. Preview — GraceLand by Chris Abani. 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.

That’s the kind of first-scene statement that has symbolism written all over it. Both authors were featured in a discussion on the show, which helped it gain additional renown. You can see this link much more in music. Many of the slums in Lagos are makeshift structures built above swampland: Redemption, a fellow teenager, who has grown up in the slums of Lagos and has developed a keen street savvy, helps Elvis find work n a variety of illicit and curious jobs.

He applies thick makeup that turns his black skin white, to make his performances more convincing for American tourists and hopefully net him dollars.

GRACELAND by Chris Abani | Kirkus Reviews

But the King of the Beggars, Elvis’s enigmatic yet faithful adviser, intercedes. A Conversation on Gambit and African Writing. This is the book selection from Nigeria for the World Cup of Literature. 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.

Abani is also very good at writing satirical and humorous passages.


Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

What I like about the book is the poetry, the sheer grace of the language. Having never visited a real slumI have foggy ideas of its povertyof putrid streets and filthy public toilets. It was like a slow moving train chugging toward gracelad unknown destination, and all of a sudden we switched tracks, sped up, and crashed into a place we never thought we’d end up.

Enslaved Africans brought the roots of the blues with them to the United States and it made its way back to us in Africa. 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. Elvis looks elsewhere for direction and guidance. Views Read Edit View history.

And throughout the book there is the waning influence of British colonial rule, the loss of indigenous knowledge, and the expanding influence of American pop culture. Barring the occasional bout of motion sickness, this worked quite well, and Elvis often wondered what it would be like to stand above and look down.

Mar 08, Rashaan rated it liked it Shelves: You will develop a new appreciation for the story. GraceLand addresses the topic of globalization in a number of ways throughout the novel.