• Picador
Reading Group Gold
GraceLand - Chris AbaniSee larger image
See Hi-Res Jpeg image


email/print EmailPrint

GraceLand



Awards: International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - Nominee, Fiction; L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist, Fiction; Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award - Nominee, Winner - First Fiction; Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award - Winner, First Fiction ; Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award - Finalist, Winner - Debut Fiction

Book Buy
Ebook Ebook 
    
Share this book with friends through your favorite social networking site. Share:           Bookmark and Share
Add this title to your virtual bookshelves at any of these book community sites. Shelve:             
sign up to get updates about this author
add this book's widget
to your site or blog

About The Author

Chris AbaniChris Abani

Chris Abani was born in Nigeria. At age sixteen he published his first novel, for which he suffered severe political persecution. He went into exile in 1991, and has since lived in England and the United States. His last book, Daphne's Lot, is a collection of poetry for... More

photo: Copyright Sally Hubbard

Awards

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - Nominee, Fiction
L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist, Fiction
Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award - Nominee, Winner - First Fiction
Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award - Winner, First Fiction
Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award - Finalist, Winner - Debut Fiction

Stay In Touch

Sign up to recieve information about new releases, author appearances, special offers, all related to you favorite authors and books.

Other Books You Might Like

cover Buy
Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn
A Novel

Picador
Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn is a coming-of-age novel of ample beauty, insight, and intensity. Defying the wishes of his family, James Pfeiffer--twenty years...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Ways of Dying
A Novel

Picador
Winner of the M-Net Book Prize Shortlisted for the CNA and Noma Awards In Ways of Dying, Zakes Mda's acclaimed first novel, Toloki is a "professional...
  
cover Buy
Colony Girl
A Novel

Picador
In Arhat, Iowa, there are cornfields and there's the Colony. Smart and precocious fifteen-year-old Eve is feeling stymied by both. So she gets her first job...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Enchantment of Lily Dahl
A Novel

Picador
The protagonist of Siri Hustvedt's astonishing second novel is a heroine of the old style: tough, beautiful, and brave. Standing at the threshold of adulthood,...
cover Buy
The Trick of It
A Novel

Picador
He knows everything about her before they meet: the make of pen she writes with, her exact height, the various honorary degrees she holds. He knows more about...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Andorra
A Novel

Picador
For mysterious reasons, a man forsakes his American life and arrives in a strange country called Andorra. He settles into the grand--and only--hotel in its...
  
cover Buy
Anatomies
A Novella and Stories

Picador
In this collection of a novella and stories, Anndee Hochman examines loss, faith, and love, and explores the complex anatomies of human relationships. Her...
  
cover Buy
Daughters of the House
A Novel

Picador
A Booker Prize Finalist, Daughters of the House is Michèle Roberts' acclaimed novel of secrets and lies revealed in the aftermath of World War II. Thérèse and...
  
cover Buy
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
25th Anniversary Edition

Henry Holt and Co.
"To celebrate this beloved book’s 25th birthday, Eric Carle has energized his original artwork, providing bold, fresh colors and his now familiar...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Day of Battle
The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

Holt Paperbacks
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Majestic... Atkinson’s achievement is to marry prodigious research with a superbly organized narrative and then to overlay the...
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
Earth Afire

Tor Science Fiction
One hundred years before Ender's Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. This is the story of the First Formic War. Victor Delgado beat the...
  

Reading Group Gold

About this Guide

The following author biography and list of questions about GraceLand are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this novel. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach GraceLand.



Discussion Questions

1. At the start of the novel Elvis Oke works as an Elvis Presley impersonator where he is greeted by odd stares and given money to stop dancing and singing. What is the influence of Elvis Presley on Elvis Oke’s life? How is Elvis Presley symbolic of American dreams and culture? What is the role of American culture in the novel? What is the significance of the title? Where is Elvis Oke’s land of grace?

2. At the start and conclusion of each chapter are excerpts from Beatrice’s journal- "things she wants to remember in her next life." Since the reader barely meets her, what can you learn about her through these excerpts? Why would she need them in her next life? How could the journal help Elvis and why does he carry it with him?

3. "Elvis had read a newspaper editorial that stated, rather proudly, that Nigeria had a higher percentage of millionaires than nearly any other country in the world…. The editorial fails to mention that …Nigeria also had a higher percentage of poor people than nearly any other country in the world." Discuss the paradox that is Lagos. Consider Elvis’s thoughts on Lagos, "How could a place be so ugly and violent yet beautiful at the same time?"

4. Redemption says that the "States is de place where dreams come true, not like dis Lagos dat betray your dreams." How does this statement define how Redemption and Elvis view America? Do they have an idealistic view of America?

5. Abani’s choices of names define "a culture where your name was selected with care by your family and given to you as a talisman." Discuss the irony of the names chosen for some of the characters –i.e. Elvis, Sunday, Comfort, King of all Beggars, Innocent, and Redemption.

6. When Elvis confronts his father about his drinking they have an emotional conversation and Sunday tells him, "Everything for us fell apart when your mother died." Explain how Beatrice was the center of the family. What was the influence she had over Elvis and Sunday? Discuss how this quote is inspired by the title of Chinua Achebe’s classic novel about Nigeria’s transition to colonialism, Things Fall Apart?

7. Literature, film and music play a large role in Elvis’s life. What does Elvis’s interest in the arts reveal about his character? How does his choices in literature and film help him to escape the brutal realities of Lagos?

8. From being sexually abused, to working as a dancer, to having a tryst with a 13 year old as he works as her caretaker, Elvis has had various experiences involving sex. How is sex presented in the novel? How have these episodes defined his coming of age?

9. Among Elvis’s acquaintances are the street hustling, Redemption and a self proclaimed King of all Beggars, the "icon for freedom and spiritual truth." Who has Elvis’s best interests at heart? Whom does Elvis trust and why? Discuss the many influences in Elvis’s life.

10. As Elvis is ready to depart for America, Redemption tells him that "Your type no fit survive here long." Do you agree with this statement? How would you define Elvis’s type? Does his dealings with the Colonel dispute or reaffirm this statement? How and why was he out of place in Lagos? Why is it necessary for Elvis to leave Lagos to achieve his dreams?

11. At the conclusion of the novel, Elvis is reading James Baldwin’s Going to Meet the Man and he began "to see a lot of parallels between himself and the description of a dying black man" who used his bound hands "as leverage to pull himself up and out of the torture" of being lynched. How does this define Elvis’s journey and coming of age? How will the road change for him once he arrives in America? Since he is uneducated and poor, how can he expect his life to be different in America.

You May Also Be Interested In

cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution

Hill and Wang
An important new interpretation of the American colonists’ 150-year struggle to achieve independence “What do we mean by the Revolution?” John Adams asked...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Natural
A Novel

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
The classical novel (and basis for the acclaimed film) now in a new edition Introduction by Kevin Baker The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar
Living with a Tawny Owl

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The story of an odd couple—a British military historian and the Tawny Owl with whom he lived for fifteen years Martin Windrow was a war historian with...