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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And I see a lot of it happening in literature as well. Elvis is tempted to a life of crime by the easy money his friend Redemption tells him is to be had in Lago’s underworld. Despite all of this, there is a fine silver thread of hope and beauty woven throughout the story, and it kept me grsceland.

GraceLand – Wikipedia

I’ve always believed, “Jesus wept” is some kind of powerful. Redemption is a counterbalance to Elvis as he represents all those who are left behind, can’t leave, or provide the opportunity to those they care about for a better life.

In Gracelandexamples include intermittent allusions to Igbo customs and offhand remarks mixing local, animalist beliefs into the narrative. I loved my journey with this book. In that respect, we also see the over-reach of American and Western culture and ideals.


GraceLand has been well received in the Western literary world. Published January 26th by Picador first published Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. The final chapters, though, did not maintain the breathtaking beauty and sadness of the first half of the book, and the characters, so engaging and full at first, flattened out a bit. Graceland is set mostly in the early ‘s in the Lagos slum, Makota, and the protagonist is a boy for whom the grandest ambition imaginable is to become an Elvis impersonator.


Two male role models try to abwni Elvis under gracelaand wing–a petty criminal named Redemption and a political dissident called the King of Beggars–while his alcoholic father Sunday struggles with his own legacy and feeling of failure.

The story leaves you ramsacked, you feel like a shipwreck. This includes murder, corruption, rape, drug smuggling, human trafficking, child prostitution, torture, and theft. At first, Elvis found it was dizzy work just trying to keep focused, graceeland he learned the popular trick was to sway from side to side while squinting off to the left.

Graceland by Chris Abani

As Barthelme’s writing reveals, no part of our life is left unadulterated by the media, and, in Abani’s novel, we also find that no corner of the earth is left untainted by Western influences. It makes people curious. Possibly the most important line in the book is actually a quote from Bob Marley: According to some doctors, Elvis – the original one, Presley, that is – died of poverty. Elvis Oke, a teenage Elvis impersonator spurred on by the triumphs of heroes in the American movies and books he devours, pursues his chosen vocation with ardent single- This novel is set in Maroko, a sprawling, swampy, crazy and colorful ghetto of Lagos, Nigeria, and unfolds against a backdrop of lush reggae and abano music, American movies and a harsh urban existence.

This book aspires to more than it achieves, but it is a wonderful and, at times, amazing first novel nonetheless. I mean, Abani puts together sentences like this: Worth reading for its searing depiction of modern Africa, but Abani is no Chinua Achebe.

I found myself not wanting to tear my eyes away, even during scenes that were so gruesome that I found myself cringing as I read. The measure of a man used to be his good name, and he has to be prepared to defend that name – his honour – against anything, from outside or inside.

But worse, he’s profited off that racism by building his entire literary career on dazzling manufactured accounts of his own brutal captivity in a Nigerian prison. Follow Shaun on Twitter shaunrandol. I grew up conflicted about this whole notion [of global blackness]. Graceland is a testament to the shock and awe practice of today’s geopolitics.


Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

With job prospects few and far between. If you don’t get it, we don’t care. This is your book. Feb 21, Jose Martinez added it.

He befriends an interesting cast of characters that help him secure work, teach him about ggraceland world, and hasten his development. Both are lower class artists, always with a sophisticated book tucked under their arm, with one dead parent and one abusive one.

It was like a slow moving cyris chugging toward an unknown destination, and all of a sudden we switched tracks, sped up, and crashed into a place we never thought we’d end up.

In Lagos, Elvis is torn between the influences of two characters: His novel, Gracelandchronicles a dark page of Nigeria’s history as we follow a young boy learning to live and love in the turbulent eighties. Elvis, traveling with the troupe, eventually returns to Lagos, and is captured by the Colonel, who does not recognize him.

As Elvis matures from self indulgent and naive boy to awakened man, he’s initiated into the sinful ways of his world, and, like Dante, he sees firsthand how degrees of sin match degrees of survival.

Don’t read this without knowing there is some graphic violence within, including more than one rape scene. There were parts I enjoyed.

He’d jump from to to in subsequent chapters.