Availability: Not available new from Amazon.com
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2004-02-15)
ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0374165890 / 9780374165895
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1406778
A 2004 Vacation Reading (selected by The New York Times)
“Abani's protagonist, Elvis Oke, lives in a slum near Lagos, Nigeria, where the poor pick on the extremely poor, violence is ubiquitous and justice rare. The author was arrested in 1985, when he was 18, in connection with a politically dangerous novel he had written two years earlier.”
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 Elvis impersonator hoping to make his way out of the ghetto. Broke, beset by floods, and beatings by his alcoholic father, and with no job opportunities in sight, Elvis is tempted by a life of crime. Thus begins his odyssey into the dangerous underworld of Lagos, guided by his friend Redemption and accompanied by a restless hybrid of voices including The King of Beggars, Sunday, Innocent and Comfort. Ultimately, young Elvis, drenched in reggae and jazz, and besotted with American film heroes and images, must find his way to a GraceLand of his own. Nuanced, lyrical, and pitch perfect, Abani has created a remarkable story of a son and his father, and an examination of postcolonial Nigeria where the trappings of American culture reign supreme.
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