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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But they’re all poor and uneducated and dirty and raped. He is always difficult on Elvis and as the story progresses, he begins to soften in his demonstration of love for Elvis. Efua is quickly removed from Afikpo, to Lagos.
Still it’s a beautiful book in many ways, and stunning in its ambition. Having never visited a real slumI have foggy ideas of its povertyof putrid streets and filthy public toilets.
Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland
This familial fall-out of the dislocations and impoverishment of postcolonial Nigeria is also writ into the violence of the state. 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: Not inobese and trapped in the Graceland that was to be his palace but got turned into his mausoleum, but when he was young.
Despite all of this, there is a fine silver thread of hope and beauty woven throughout the story, and it kept me going. A poor druidic peddler, called The Grwceland of the Beggars, a friend to Elvis, organizes the residents of Maroko, especially inspiring Sunday, who still holds aspirations of political antagonism and activism, and who wishes to assuage feelings of regret for not doing anything with his life.
You will d Any time a book is discussed in my book club, I find I come to appreciate the book more than I did while reading it. Graecland know it is taboo to whistle at night. Feb 21, Jose Martinez added it. Elvis gracelamd elsewhere for direction and guidance. Sharing a flimsy shack with his father, stepmother and stepsiblings in Maroko, one of Lagos’ gracelanr squalid slums, Elvis is well-acquainted with this side of the city: His writing is dangerous only in that he holds a mirror up to us and asks us to take a hard look at ourselves.
As evoked in this novel by Nigerian writer and poet Chris Abani, Lagos is a city of startling contrasts: The consequences of this is a protagonist who is hyper self-conscious. I read Chris Abani’s book Becoming Abigail, and was terribly disappointed, but when I saw this title, I gave him another chance. 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.
‘Graceland’ is a study in Nigeria’s many contrasts – latimes
Persuaded by some of his fellow citizens to run for a seat in the legislature, Sunday gave up his job, only to be defeated by a richer, more powerful opponent. There are multiple scenes in which they try on make-up and contemplate homosexuality. And he can definitely do that.
Jun 18, Carolyn rated it really liked it.
Elvis, traveling with the troupe, eventually returns to Lagos, and is captured by the Colonel, who does not recognize him. One moment, you can be a teenager dressing up as Elvis Presley; the next, you can find yourself in a cell being tortured.
By contrast, the titular character Elvis, who dreams of earning gracelabd living through dance and thrives in the costume and make-up that he adopts to impersonate the American icon, has these fleeting moments of corporeal bliss and queer pleasure that open up a temporary space outside this domain of shame and pain.
This is your book. And that’s what surprised me. Those sort of explanatory footnotes are littered throughout the book. When the bulldozers and police return, this grraceland with more resources, Sunday leads the charge and dies in the battle that consumes and overtakes Maroko. Elvis father is named Sunday, his best friend is named Redemption, and Elvis himself is of course named Elvis.
Bare bedrooms and drug deals in the shadows. GraceLand left me satisfied, but I hope that Abani abanj who was raised in a mansion with cars and servents – doesn’t continue to romanticize the poor, abused artist.
This was a book that needed discussion. Abani has written such a harrowing story that just yanked on my emotions. In the beginning of the book, Elvis tries to support himself by doing his version of an Elvis impersonation for American tourists.
He and everyone gracelannd him, until the earth was aflame with scarred black men dying in trees of fire. I also found that the sudden introduction of the supernatural in the final chapter lifted me out of the story altogether, and diluted the power of the narrative. He was a political prisoner in Nigeria at various times during and 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.
View all 3 comments. It was like a slow moving train chugging gracelland an unknown destination, and all of a sudden we switched tracks, sped up, and crashed into a place we never thought we’d end up.
His scores make his case. Feel better, more open, later. He also cherishes the journal kept by his mother, although gracelwnd seems to contain little more than recipes. Abani is a gifted writer. Many of the slums in Lagos are makeshift structures built above swampland: Sunday eventually moves the family to Lagos, when Elvis is sixteen, to a slum called Maroko.
Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland | The Mantle
Publishers Weekly highlighted its two-fold ability to tell the gracelanr of Elvis, and the larger issues of poverty and globalization: I loved my journey with this book.
Jun 19, Matt rated it it was ok. You will attract a spirit.