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2 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Graceland

by

Graceland Cover

ISBN13: 9780312425289
ISBN10: 0312425287
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Chris Abani was born in Nigeria. At age sixteen he published his first novel, for which he suffered severe political persecution. Abani went into exile in 1991, and has since lived in England and the United States. His book Daphne's Lot, a collection of poetry, won him 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 now lives and teaches in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the YearWinner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy AwardShortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Chris Abani's GraceLand is a dazzling debut by one of the most talented new voices to emerge from Africa. This gorgeously written and haunting novel is set in Maroko, a sprawling, swampy, crazy, and colorful ghetto of Lagos, Nigeria, and unfolds against a backdrop of lush reggae and highlife music, American movies, and a harsh urban existence. Elvis Oke, a teenage EIvis impersonator spurred on by the triumphs of heroes in the American movies and books he devours, pursues his chosen vocation with ardent single-mindedness. He suffers through hours of practice set to the tinny tunes emanating from the radio in the filthy shack he shares with his alcoholic father, his stepmother, and his step-siblings. He applies thick makeup that turns his black skin white, to make his performances more convincing for American tourists and hopefully net him dollars. But still he finds himself constantly broke. Beset by hopelessness and daunted by the squalor and violence of his daily life, he must finally abandon his dream. With job prospects few and far between, Elvis is tempted to a life of crime by the easy money his friend Redemption tells him is to be had in Lagos's underworld. But the King of the Beggars, Elvis's enigmatic yet faithful adviser, intercedes. And so, torn by the frustration of unrealizable dreams and accompanied by an eclectic chorus of voices, Elvis must find a way to a Graceland of his own making. Nuanced, lyrical, and pitch-perfect, GraceLand is the remarkable story of a son and his father, and an examination of postcolonial Nigeria, where the trappings of American culture reign supreme. A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year

GraceLand amply demonstrates that Abani has the energy, ambition, and compassion to create a novel that delineates and illuminates a complicated, dynamic, deeply fractured society.--Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times GraceLand teems with incident, from the seedy crime dens of Maroko to the family melodramas of the Oke clan. But throughout the novel's action, Abani--an accomplished poet who published his own first novel at Elvis's tender age of 16--keeps the reader's gaze fixed firmly on the detailed and contradictory cast of everyday Nigerian life. He shows how decades of authoritarian political rule breed indifference, and indeed weary fatalism, in the face of corruption and political terror, even while symbols of resistance such as the King of the Beggars become cultural heroes . . . Energetic and moving . . . Abani is] a fluid, closely observant writer.--Chris Lehmann, The Washington Post

GraceLand amply demonstrates that Abani has the energy, ambition, and compassion to create a novel that delineates and illuminates a complicated, dynamic, deeply fractured society.--Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times

Abani's Lagos is such an extraordinary place . . . 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 . . . Original and] worthwhile.--Sophie Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

This is a coming of age novel - of an adolescent boy and a young and troubled country searching for direction. The teenage habits of swagger and posturing which both employ only serve to exacerbate their vulnerability. Nigeria is presented as a country rich in activity--its people are constantly talking, eating or moving; but also one steeped in casual violence, poverty and death. 'Life in Lagos is a gamble, ' says Elvis' best friend Redemption, and not everybody is cut out for survival. Nigerian writers have consistently defied intense persecution by the state to produce some startling work, and Chris Abani is no exception . . . Some of the most affecting episodes in Graceland are the descriptions of physical torture which rarely last for more than a paragraph, but which linger in the reader's memory. Abani is adamant that he is not just a product of these experiences and has repeatedly stressed in interviews that he is interested in the craft of writing, not just the impulses behind it . . . The verve of the writing is captivating. A novel on such a large scale, encompassing different decades and a host of characters . . . is at its best when describing vignettes of daily life, which are affectionate and funny, the struggle of a boy and a country full of contradictions.--Elaine Moore, Africa Policy Journal Striking . . . Set against the terrible Nigerian political realities of the 1970s and '80s, GraceLand marks the debut of a writer with something important to say . . . The book] wins the reader with its concept and] keeps him with strong storytelling and characterization . . . Abani] speaks in a fresh new voice. His elaborate examination of the rituals of manhood, his true-to-life description of the reality of the streets, his compassion for his characters--all ring with authority and insight.--Susan Larson, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

A] fine book . . . When I call Chris Abani original, I don't mean he has arrived at some new and slightly novel way of indicating the suffering of the artist in our unfeeling culture or of indicating the racial origins of his characters. I mean that his perception of the world is beyond or outside the common categories of contemporary fiction and that he is able to describe what he perceives compellingly and effectively.--Tim Marchman, The New York Sun

Abani's novel is a clear-eyed view of postcolonial Nigerian life during the 1970s and 1980s . . . It provides compelling insight on this period that many historians would envy . . . Abani brings this world to milieu with considerable skill. Among the distinguishing characteristics of this book is its rich portrayal of the cultural life of Lagos's migrants and working class, particularly the influence of American culture through film, books, and music. Elvis and his companions are well familiar with James Baldwin, John Wayne, and the Everly Brothers, among many others. Such points of reference offer a different angle from most depictions of consumer taste in African fiction, or history for that matter. Like many of his predecessors, Abani also offers a complex portrait of family life under difficult social conditions, carefully weaving together the politics of the street and society-at-large with the politics of the family in equal measure . . . A rewarding novel that] is also suggestive of the richness of the postcolonial condition as a realm of historical inquiry.--Christopher J. Lee, Harvard University, International Journal of African Historical Studies Abani is a skillful descriptive writer . . . GraceLand draws a searing picture of a country devouring its own children. What you learn about Nigeria will make you want to weep.--Dinaw Mengestu, The New Leader

Powerful . . . A lyrical and terrifying glimpse of a place saturated in American icons and pop culture, but entirely unlike America.--Michelle Chihara, Mother Jones

A] vivid, original portrayal of life in Lagos, Nigeria . . . Compelling, troubling, and delightful. Its language, though exotic, is always credible and often enthralling . . . Abani's intensely visual style--and his sense of humor--convert the stuff of hopelessness into the stuff of hope.--Carlo Wolff, San Francisco Chronicle

An invaluable document from a writer] whose continued development will be a pleasure to witness.--Gregory Miller, The San Diego Union-Tribune

A wonderfully vivid evocation of a youth coming of age in a country unmoored from its old virtues . . . As for the talented Chris Abani . . . his imaginary Elvis is easily as memorable as the original.--Dan Cryer, Newsday

Abani's novel is] deeply concerned with how Western colonialism transformed Africa in ways both major and minor . . . Abani masterfully gives us a young man who is simultaneously brave, heartless, bright, foolish, lustful, and sadly resigned to fate. In short, a perfectly drawn adolescent . . . Abani's ear for dialogue and eye for observation lend a lyrical air . . . In depicting how deeply external politics can affect internal thinking, GraceLand announces itself as a worthy heir to Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Like that classic of Nigerian literature, it gives a multifaceted, human face to a culture struggling to find its own identity while living with somebody else's.--Mark Athitakis, The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)

Chris Abani's Graceland is a richly detailed, poignant, and utterly fascinating look into another cult

Synopsis:

"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.

"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

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.

Synopsis:

"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.

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

www.wsu.edu/~wulfdm, November 6, 2006 (view all comments by www.wsu.edu/~wulfdm)
Life on the streets in Nigeria can be a hard journey as depicted by Chris Abani. Images of death are prevalent as everday occurrences. The ruling military, who are on a permanent powertrip act as the force that instills fear and order into the citizens everyday life. This is a great book that dives into one boy's journey into manhood.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312425289
Manufactured:
Picador
Publisher:
Picador USA
Author:
Abani, Christopher
Author:
Abani, Chris
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fathers and sons
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20050131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.84 x 5 x 0.975 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Miscellaneous Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Adventure
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Graceland Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Picador USA - English 9780312425289 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"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.

"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

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.

"Synopsis" by ,
"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.

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