CHRIS ABANI GRACELAND PDF

While in Lagos, Elvis struggles to find a way to attach himself to his new home and ultimately fails to do so. His time in Lagos equips him to move to a diverse community of immigrants in the United States where he will have more access to the international cultural influences that he seeks. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

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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 Graceland , like the beginning of a roller coaster ride clacking you to the top of the first big hill. About halfway through I felt eager and anxious that the rest of the novel would be a frightening, downward spiral—I was right.

Abani tells a story woven with interesting characters in a land less than paradise slums of Lagos ; there is always a nagging sense that things are not going to be pretty.

Having never visited a real slum, I have foggy ideas of its poverty, of putrid streets and filthy public toilets. Bare bedrooms and drug deals in the shadows.

Guns tucked under t-shirts and barefoot children padding down litter-strewn, unpaved roads. Details make a story unique to the author, place, and narrative. In Graceland , examples include intermittent allusions to Igbo customs and offhand remarks mixing local, animalist beliefs into the narrative.

In one quick scene, the protagonist Elvis Oke is young, in the yard, fetching water for his bath and whistling the theme song from Casablanca. You know it is taboo to whistle at night. You will attract a spirit. Details are what bring it back to Lagos each time. Yam recipes. Palm oil and palm wine.

Herbal remedies and anti-witchcraft concoctions—these are Nigerian. Still, Graceland seems to me to be a story that is—in its particulars—very Nigerian. Later, after some very scary tribulations, Elvis has an exchange with a soldier who roughs him up. This is one of several " quick reviews ," a series that provides a snapshot of international arts and culture.

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Quick Review: Chris Abani's Graceland

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 Graceland , like the beginning of a roller coaster ride clacking you to the top of the first big hill. About halfway through I felt eager and anxious that the rest of the novel would be a frightening, downward spiral—I was right. Abani tells a story woven with interesting characters in a land less than paradise slums of Lagos ; there is always a nagging sense that things are not going to be pretty. Having never visited a real slum, I have foggy ideas of its poverty, of putrid streets and filthy public toilets. Bare bedrooms and drug deals in the shadows.

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Worth reading for its searing depiction of modern Africa, but Abani is no Chinua Achebe. A Nigerian-born poet and first-novelist limns a teenage boy struggling for direction in Lagos under the heel of a brutal military dictatorship. Elvis Oke is 16, saddled with an alcoholic father, a hostile stepmother, and fading memories of his dead mother, who named him for her favorite American singer and whose tattered journal is his only connection to happier days in the Nigerian countryside. With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for. When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus run over a longtime acquaintance of hers—Barbara Baker, a woman she doesn't like very much—it's only the beginning of the shake-ups to come in her life and the lives of those she loves. Astrid has been tootling along contentedly in the Hudson Valley town of Clapham, New York, a year-old widow with three grown children.

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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 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. 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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