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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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Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

Fearing for his safety, once he knows the the Colonel has heard of this disruption, he leads a band of musicians away from Lagos, taking Elvis with him to keep him safe and provide an opportunity for a better life. He talks about the concept of the African extended family, saying so much in his descript It was nice reading about the life of a youth living in Lagos.

The climax of the tension between the Colonel and Elvis occurs when Maroko is in danger of being bulldozed in favor of new development by private developers. Selections of his poetry appear in the online journal Blackbird. Public Offerings Book 1: You know it is taboo to whistle at night. For Elvis, his criminal activities are motivated by his desire to lift himself out of poverty.

He is always difficult on Elvis and as the story progresses, he begins to soften in his demonstration of love for Elvis.

Abani is also very good at writing satirical and humorous passages. Oye, Elvis’ tough as nails grandmother, and matriarch of the Oke family, who is as unrelenting with Elvis as his father is, but commands respect from all in the village.

There’s that dialogue going on all the time Jun 18, Carolyn rated it really liked 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. By switching between flashbacks and the present, and sprinkling in some gritty scenes child rape and colorful detail quoting John Wayne Chris Abani builds a compelling narrative through the first half Gracelandlike the beginning of a roller coaster ride clacking you to the top of the first big hill.


Let’s get back to the author then. Many of the slums in Lagos are makeshift structures built above swampland: This book is harsh The King of Beggars, on the other hand, attempts to direct Elvis to a different path. 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. This familial fall-out of the dislocations and impoverishment of postcolonial Nigeria is also writ into the violence of the state.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland | The Mantle

Which unfortunately affected my enjoyment of the book. There were times where I had to close the book and take a moment. 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 absni content, is written so well that you just don’t want it to end.

The Colonel, the military leader who instructs his soldiers to torture at random, derives his authority also from sexualized shame. I absolutely loved this book.

To ask other readers questions about GraceLandplease sign up. The western influences in GraceLand often work in exploitative manners, such as American ggaceland companies distributing their products to children in movie theaters.

Beset by hopelessness and daunted by the squalor and violence of his daily life, he must finally abandon his dream. The beginning of Book 2 moves forward from that point, staying in If you want to see Nigeria through the eyes of a disenfranchised kid trying his best to survive in post independent Nigeria, set during the late 70’s and early 80’s.

I was very moved by Abani’s exploration of masculinity, sexuality, and authority and the relationship of sex and gender to colonial exploitation and its continuing fall-out.

Abani chhris his characters reference both Nigerian Achebe, Soyinka and Western Ellison, Dostoevsky, Marley writers to create a picture of a world that’s become an interconnected chros long before modern communications made it obvious; the characters rarely set foot outside their own city, yet thanks to the cultural, commercial and political revolutions of the past centuries they very much live in the Big World Outside.


So who cares what they think, anyway. And it’s been a raging success. And he can definitely do that. 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 chrsi 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 absni the beauty of his doomed efforts.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

GraceLand – Wikipedia

Print Hardcover zbani Paperback. But it is interesting that these guys were educated mostly in America. After growing up poor and undernourished, his body couldn’t handle the comfort food and the drugs he could suddenly afford after growing rich off cover versions of black artists, heh.

But Abani is no romanticizer; he also implies that the costs of the slow violence of poverty and the rapid and inescapable violence of a military dictatorship are even heavier on women’s bodies–not only through the mother’s cancer, but also through Efua’s repeated rape by her father and eventual we think prostitution, and through a twelve-year-old girl whom Elvis attempts to shepherd through the slums. Beatrice Oke, Avani deceased mother. Abani is a first novelist with a very bright future.

Mar 02, Kathryn rated it really liked it Shelves: