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. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Graceland by Chris Abani. GraceLand is a novel by Nigerian-American author Chris Abani. Graceland is a dazzling debut by a singular new talentThe sprawling, swampy, cacophonous city of Lagos, Nigeria, provides the backdrop to the story of Elvis.

Author: Namuro Samutaur
Country: Honduras
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Medical
Published (Last): 24 July 2004
Pages: 20
PDF File Size: 4.40 Mb
ePub File Size: 17.85 Mb
ISBN: 170-6-47333-739-8
Downloads: 5265
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Fejora

And I mean don’t peek! Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Also, plenty of mention of the west’s apathy towards actually doing something in Africa, despite it’s colonial past.

The author 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, who, 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 and his country, and from time to time are simply dazzled by the beauty of his doomed efforts.

However, other reviews, such as Kirkus Reviewshad a slightly more critical view on the novel, stating: So, I expect I’ll read more of him. However, this is complicated by the numerous illegal and morally questionable jobs he takes part in with his friend Redemption.

Also, there is an amazing comparative element that comes into the novel in the final scene, as Elvis reads James Baldwin on lynching, and it dawns on him that the Nigerian experience and the American one are intimately linked through the necropolitics of violence to black bodies.

GRACELAND by Chris Abani | Kirkus Reviews

Don’t peek, but the last line of the book is so insightful! If you want to see Nigeria through the eyes of a disenfranchised kid trying his best to survive in post independent Nigeria, set gracelamd the late 70’s and early 80’s.

It is a portrayal of a boy forced to grow up too fast, and of a country forced into turmoil, violence, and hope.

If you choose to read this book, get ready for an experience unlike any other. Gracelandlike Jessica Hagedorn’s novels Dogeaters or Dream Junglecrams fistfuls of characters into bustling Third World nightmares.


Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

GraceLand by Chris Abani. Having never visited a real slumI have foggy ideas of its povertyof putrid streets and filthy public toilets. This knowledge, associated with femininity, sustains Elvis throughout the narrative. Two male role models try to take Elvis under their wing–a petty criminal named Redemption and a political dissident called the King of Beggars–while his alcoholic father Sunday struggles with his own legacy and feeling of failure. The news out of Africa is so bad so much of time that it takes a writer of rare skill to make us pay attention.

The richness of the traditions and the complexities of the extended African family don’t always translate well into a western “lexicon”. Unfortunately the story just did not grab me. Aani bedrooms and drug deals in the shadows.

About halfway through I felt eager and anxious that the rest of the novel would be a frightening, downward spiral—I was right. The Secret History of Las Vegas: 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.

But up on stage Abani impressed me more than just about anyone else with the exception, probably, of Kei Miller. Page 1 gracelanf 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Abani is a gifted writer.

The moment when youthful innocence is lost for Elvis is when he discovers that his uncle ggraceland rapes Efua. We follow Elvis his real namea Nigerian teenager who longs to dance and do his Elvis impersonation what commentary on internal colonization in that one characteristic This book is one of those books that, no matter how intense and devastating its content, is written so well that you abaani don’t want it to end.

Graphic and grasping the deeper context profoundly human, touching and soulful.

Gracelnd remained true throughout. And that’s what surprised me. Redemption, who entangles Elvis into a life of crime, lifts the veil of innocence for us and our hero when he asks, “So are you telling me dat stealing bread from bakery to feed yourself and killing some boy is de same?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The novel jumps between two settings, the village of Afikpo from untiland Lagos from and onward. Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go.


An hour later, he woke with a start and, standing up, dusted off the seat of his trousers. As Barthelme’s writing reveals, no part of our life is left unadulterated by the media, and, in Abani’s novel, we also find that no corner of the earth is left untainted by Western influences.


I read the novel with false hopes all the way to the end, and the ending was my punishment for it. Whether you are interested in Nigeria or just love a great story about an intriguing character, Graceland is a marvel of literary creation. His novel, Gracelandchronicles a dark page of Nigeria’s history as we follow a young boy learning to live and love in the turbulent eighties. In this case, Lagos, Nigeria in the early s, with flashbacks a few years earlier.

A poor druidic peddler, called The King of the Beggars, graceand friend to Elvis, organizes the residents of Maroko, especially inspiring Gracelannd, who still holds aspirations of political antagonism and activism, and who wishes to assuage feelings of regret for not doing anything with his life.

Buy the selected items together This item: Aunt Felicia, who only a graceladn years older than Elvis, acts as caretaker and ushers Elvis into sexual maturity. 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 grafeland this angle and now from that.

Unfortunately, like many “African” books, the characters fall under the will of corruption and violence. The description of how the World Bank takes advantage of the Nigerian people under humanitarian pretenses is also a clear indictment xbani globalization.

Chris Abani Nigeria Quick Review.

: GraceLand: A Novel (): Chris Abani: Books

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-mindedness. Elvis, traveling with the troupe, eventually returns to Lagos, and is captured by the Colonel, who does not recognize him.

GraceLand is original, emotional, and visceral. Guns tucked under t-shirts and barefoot children padding down litter-strewn, unpaved roads. Story about a young man trying to get by in Lagos slums in the s. We follow Elvis his real namea Nigerian teenager who longs to dance and do his Elvis impersonation what commentary on internal colonization in that one characteristic! I’m not going to lie, this book isn’t a happy one but the story is touching and the language Abani uses is gorgeous.