OVERRIDE

GraceLand

A Novel

Chris Abani

Picador

"A richly detailed, poignant, and utterly fascinating look into another culture and how it is cross-pollinated by our own. It brings to mind the work of Ha Jin in its power and revelation of the new."--T. Coraghessan Boyle

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. Nuanced, lyrical, and pitch perfect, this is a remarkable story of a son and his father, and an examination of postcolonial Nigeria, where the trappings of American culture reign supreme.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Graceland
Book I 
 
It seemed almost incidental that he was African. So vast had his inner perceptions grown over the years ... 
--BESSIE HEAD, A Question of PowerONE 
 
This is the kola nut. This seed is a star. This star is life. This star is us. 
 
The Igbo hold the kola nut to be sacred, offering it at every gathering and to every visitor, as a blessing, as refreshment or to seal a covenant. The prayer that precedes the breaking and sharing of the nut is: He who brings kola, brings life. 
 
Lagos, 1983Elvis stood by
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for GraceLand

"Abani's intensely visual style--and his sense of humor--convert the stuff of hopelessness into the stuff of hope."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Extraordinary...This book works brilliantly in two ways. As a convincing and unpatronizing record of life in a poor Nigerian slum, and as a frighteningly honest insight into a world skewed by casual violence, it's wonderful...And for all the horrors, there are sweet scenes in Graceland too, and they're a thousand times better for being entirely unsentimental...Lovely." --The New York Times Book Review

"To say that this is a Nigerian or African novel is to miss the point. This absolutely beautiful work of fiction is about complex strained political structures, the irony of the West being a measure of civilization, and the tricky business of being a son. Abani's language is beautiful and his story is important."--Percival Everett
"Abani's intensely visual style--and his sense of humor--convert the stuff of hopelessness into the stuff of hope."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Extraordinary...This book works brilliantly in two ways. As a convincing and unpatronizing record of life in a poor Nigerian slum, and as a frighteningly honest insight into a world skewed by casual violence, it's wonderful...And for all the horrors, there are sweet scenes in Graceland too, and they're a thousand times better for being entirely unsentimental...Lovely." --The New York Times Book Review

"To say that this is a Nigerian or African novel is to miss the point. This absolutely beautiful work of fiction is about complex strained political structures, the irony of the West being a measure of civilization, and the tricky business of being a son. Abani's language is beautiful and his story is important."--Percival Everett

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Chris 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 which he won a 2003 Lannan Literary Fellowship. He is also the recipient of the PEN USA West Freedom to Write Award and the Prince Claus Award. Abani lives and teaches in Los Angeles.
  • Chris Abani Copyright Sally Hubbard
BACK

READING GUIDE

ORGANIZING A READING GROUP

GET THE GUIDE

Download PDF

TELL YOUR FRIENDS

FIND MORE BOOKS

Go to website

STAY UPDATED

Sign Up

OTHER GUIDES

Reading Group Guide
BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

GraceLand

A Novel

Chris Abani

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

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

BACK

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

BACK