The sprawling, swampy, cacophonous city of Lagos, Nigeria, provides the backdrop to the story of Elvis, a teenage Elvis impersonator hoping to. GraceLand has ratings and reviews. Jon said: I have mixed feelings about this book and while I’m glad I read it, it’s a difficult book to recom. 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 CL first read: This is the book selection from Nigeria for chrs World Cup of Literature. Can someone direct me to a novel based in Africa that isn’t centered on extreme tragedy? And that, I believe, is what good writing is all about.


I think you can judge this book by its cover. The moment when youthful innocence is lost for Elvis is when he discovers that his uncle repeatedly rapes Efua. He came to the university where I work to speak to a room full of international students, and over a delectable plate of Southern soul food, he told stories. Abani is a first novelist with grsceland very gtaceland future.

At best, they get to choose their own encore. The measure of a man used to be his good name, and he has to be prepared to defend that name – his honour – against anything, from outside or inside.

A Conversation on Gambit and African Writing. I mean, Abani puts together sentences like this: There was something gluttonous about the scene, with the swimming pool in the background, and all the fawning attention.

Gracelandlike Jessica Hagedorn’s novels Dogeaters or Dream Junglecrams fistfuls of characters into bustling Third World nightmares.

All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from October Articles with permanently dead external links Pages to import images to Wikidata. 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.


The novel traces the trajectory taken by Elvis in an attempt to make a living in a slum in Lagos. 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. Also has recipes on great traditional Nigerian meals. Abani expresses his impotency: But it is interesting that these guys were educated mostly in America.

The final chapters, though, did not maintain the breathtaking beauty and sadness of the first half of the book, and the characters, so engaging and full at first, flattened out a bit.

So far this is my favorite selection. As a Western reader I don’t mind them, but I think its disingenuous of Abani to not own up to them. And I mean don’t peek! To ask other readers questions about GraceLandplease sign up.

GraceLand – Wikipedia

Don’t peek, but the last line of the book is so insightful! The cris jumps between two settings, the village of Afikpo from untiland Lagos from and onward. Lists with This Book.

I’m sad that it fizzled for me. Because after finishin I had lunch with Chris Abani last week. Abani is a gifted gracelxnd.

Empty bottles were valuable because the local Coca-Cola factory washed and reused them. The amount varied from retailer to retailer but was usually no less than the price of the drink.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

Moody, they tended to burn films at the slightest provocation, melting the plastic into cream and brown cappuccino froth. 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.


And it’s been a raging success.

And I was rewarded. Some people name their children after saints or forefathers in the hope that they will be, well, graced with their good sides.

GRACELAND by Chris Abani | Kirkus Reviews

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 book is one of those books that, no matter how intense and devastating its content, is written so well that you just don’t want it to end.

Redemption is a counterbalance to Elvis as he represents all those who are left behind, can’t leave, or provide the opportunity to those they care about for a better life. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. His writing is dangerous only in that he holds a mirror up to us and asks us to take a hard look at ourselves.