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Eddie Signwriterby Adam Schwartzman
Synopses & Reviews
A stunning debut novel—its power and prose evocative of such diverse writers as Faulkner, Ondaatje, Nabokov, and Coetzee–about a young African’s international odyssey of self-discovery.
Kwasi Edward Michael Dankwa—Eddie Signwriter to his clients—is a twenty-year-old painter of murals and billboards in the city of Accra, Ghana, who is buffeted by forces beyond his control and understanding as he is swept up by the passions and machinations of others. Struggling with a forbidden relationship, banished from school, held responsible for the death of a notable woman in the community, Eddie flees overland to Senegal and then, illegally, to France, determined to find a new life for himself among the immigrant communities of Paris.
Following him across magnificently rendered African lands into the precincts of Paris, Eddie Signwriter gives us a spellbinding tale of rootlessness and desire, of disgrace and redemption, of politics both personal and global, of art and love. Empathic, wise, deeply humane, and luminously written, it heralds Adam Schwartzman as a writer of great promise.
"Schwartzman's debut novel bears testament to his background as a poet, as lush description and bright, playful prose chronicle the travails of Kwasi Edward Michael Dankoh, aka Eddie Signwriter. Born in independent Ghana and raised by his father in Botswana, Kwasi grows up an introspective young man often perceived to be an outsider. His solitude is broken when he meets Celeste, and their adolescent romance blossoms until it runs into a scandal — the death of Celeste's aunt — that sends Kwasi packing. He ends up as an apprentice signwriter and eventually starts a successful business of his own that meets a ruinous end after Celeste briefly reappears. In a surprisingly upbeat treatment of human trafficking and illegal immigration, Kwasi arrives in Paris and joins a community of African immigrants who congregate at a secret club located in a cellar beneath a flower shop. As Kwasi strives to redefine himself through his new life and a new love, aspects of his past remain less than hidden. This wide-ranging and gorgeously written novel has huge heart, and Kwasi's quest for identity is as sad as it is uplifting." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Adam Schwartzman was born in Johannesburg in 1973. After completing degrees in English literature and development studies at Oxford University, he held positions in the South African National Treasury, the World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation. He is the author of three books of poetry—The Good Life, The Dirty Life, and Other Stories; Merrie Afrika!; and Book of Stones—as well as the anthology Ten South African Poets. Eddie Signwriter is his first novel. He lives in Istanbul, Turkey, with his wife and daughter.
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