February 20, 2020 posted by

This familial fall-out of the dislocations and impoveri A powerful exploration of the costs of colonialism registered through masculinity and sexuality. Chris Abani was born in Nigeria in and published his first novel at sixteen. Still it’s a beautiful book in many ways, and stunning in its ambition. And I see a lot of it happening in literature as well. Jul 02, Trevor rated it it was ok Shelves: Moody, they tended to burn films at the slightest provocation, melting the plastic into cream and brown cappuccino froth. Graceland , like Jessica Hagedorn’s novels Dogeaters or Dream Jungle , crams fistfuls of characters into bustling Third World nightmares.

In Graceland , examples include intermittent allusions to Igbo customs and offhand remarks mixing local, animalist beliefs into the narrative. I read Chris Abani’s book Becoming Abigail, and was terribly disappointed, but when I saw this title, I gave him another chance. And few live to sing about the Jailhouse Rock! The novel can often be seen as critical of the foreign influences that operate within Nigeria. Some of the characters that are featured prominently are his father, Sunday Oke, a brusque drunk, who after unsuccessfully running for mayor of their town, left for Lagos to unsuccessfully find work. Be the first to discover new talent! Views Read Edit View history.

The beginning of Book 2 moves forward from that point, staying in Chris Abani was there looking a little like Jabba the Hutt as he shoveled a plate of food into his mouth while his fiancee looked on across the table.

In Lagos, Elvis is torn between the influences of two characters: Starting from a, to be honest, fairly cliched graceladn – a young man trying to abzni his place in a world that doesn’t want him – Synopsiw 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 though often laugh-out-loud funny irony.

Shaun Randol founded The Mantle in We allow access to the Western reader, but also say we don’t care about what you think.

GRACELAND by Chris Abani | Kirkus Reviews

The Parameters of Longing. The writer wonderfully describes the significance of the Sbani, the importance and power of traditional medicines and those that practice them, and the recipes are fun.


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However, this is complicated by the numerous illegal and morally questionable jobs he takes part in with his friend Redemption. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. He takes you into a country, a place abank have never been and makes you feel it, see it, sense it. He has a spaceship in a tree in the backyard of his apartment complex.

A powerful exploration of the costs of colonialism registered through masculinity and sexuality. I feel grateful for this book. Elvis father is named Sunday, his best friend is named Redemption, and Elvis himself is of course named Elvis. I liked the part where Elvis and Redemption are riding in the car and talking abain the future, because it showed that Redemption is clever and is a traceland faithful friend to Elvis.

If you don’t get it, we don’t care. If you choose to read this book, get ready for an experience unlike any other.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland | The Mantle

At novel’s end, Elvis Oke is about to escape Nigeria, as his author did. He lives with his father Sunday and his stepmother Comfort, but he does not get along well with them. In the very first scene of the book, when the protagonist Elvis is awoken by a pounding Nigerian rainstorm, we read this: Despite these flaws, Graceland is gracfland reading for what it shows and tries to tell about growing up in a violent landscape.

Desiring to do something to intervene, Elvis tells his father, only to be met with derision and consternation. In the final scene of the book, Elvis is sitting at the terminal awaiting departure of his flight, and he reminisces about all of the torture and horror that he has experienced and witnessed, wondering if he will be successful in life in the States, while holding onto regret for not being able to take care of the other characters who have taken care of him to be able to get him to this point.

Having never visited a real slumI have foggy ideas of its povertyof putrid streets and filthy public toilets. The present story line throws enough obstacles Elvis’s way to power larger novels. Beatrice Oke, Elvis’ deceased mother. There’s that dialogue going on all the time As Elvis matures 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.


In the Country of Men Helon Habila: After enduring days of torture, he is released back to the streets, where he meets up with Redemption again, who gives him the passport.

You know it is taboo to whistle at night. With an apt metaphoric schema, Abani brings American glitzy dreams–Las Vegas-style–to just another global antipode, the wretched nightmare of living in a hovel in Maroko, a slum outside Lagos. This includes murder, corruption, rape, drug smuggling, human trafficking, child prostitution, torture, and theft.

Graceland Book Summary and Study Guide

Since the novel frequently alternates between the present of in Lagos, and during the past of Afikpo from untilit is important to separate both time periods. His use of prose was often beautiful and haunting.

Abani has written such a harrowing story that just yanked on my emotions. It’s interesting, in his interview with Jones, Abani insists that he doesn’t think about the Western reader when he writes: Click here to see the rest of this review Best part of story, including ending: Public Offerings Book 1: Set in the Nigerian city of Lagos, GraceLand is the story of a teenage boy named Elvis Oke, who is trying to escape the poverty of his community.

This is one of several ” quick reviews ,” a series that provides a snapshot of international arts and culture. One of the best passages in the book describes movie night in a Lagos slum.

Chris Abani

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. And I was rewarded.

Feb 21, Jose Martinez added it. 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.