Laurie Blum, August 21, 2013 (view all comments by Laurie Blum)
Thank you, Penguin Group, for the ARC of the novel "419", winner of Canada's Giller Literary Prize. Author Will Ferguson had me on the 'edge of my seat' as I read this ambitious thriller with an intricate plot & four story lines ... trust me, I will never open emails from the Nigerian government as I learned that "419" refers to the section of the criminal code which pertains to obtaining goods or money under false pretenses ... not my usual genre, but thought provoking and a worthwhile read.
writermala, August 18, 2013 (view all comments by writermala)
The title was so mysterious that I didn't have a clue what the book was about. The plot unfolded, revealing 419 to be the section of Nigeria's criminal code dealing with fraud. The author cleverly reveals the machinations of a con artist in Nigeria using the internet on a mass scale to milk unsuspecting Canadians of their life savings. The scammers consider themselves artists and justify their "trade" by saying they are only getting the funds due to the greed of their correspondents whom they don't consider victims at all
One such victim's daughter, Laura, is determined to get even. The novel charts her journey as also that of one of several con artists, a man of the "family" and a woman without a name who walks through the African desert. All the strands in the story come together to a grand climax and a surprising ending. A climax worth waiting for.
by Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story,
"As good a novel about the world in its entirety, from Canada to Nigeria, as I've seen in years, or will likely see in years to come. It stays with you, it makes you think, and it hurts."
by Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments,
“419 is sharp and unpredictable, full of surprising, wonderful characters. It isn't just clever — it's spectacular."
by The Globe and Mail,
“It's a deeply ironic, thoroughly engaged politico-philosophical thriller….Riveting. Provocative.”
by The Atlantic Wire,
…A quick-plotted thriller.”
by The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax),
“A sweeping story with complex twists and turns that spans continents, breaks hearts and ruins lives.”
by The Toronto Star,
“The story [Ferguson] weaves is heart-wrenching, fascinating, and scary. A thriller with a raw nerve ending….Ferguson…dazzles us in 419 with an intricately woven, urgent story. It is an unflinching, ambitious work, flinging us back and forth across the Atlantic, and taking us into danger….It is a persuasive work of fiction based on a very original premise. Ferguson who swings so deftly from humor to thriller is a writer who can genuinely surprise.”
by Winnipeg Free Press,
“Ferguson's revenge novel will appeal to everyone….A sprawling but beautiful third novel. It is a mixture of intrigue, storytelling, parenthood, sorrow, vengeance and fun. It reads a little bit like a Ludlum spy saga, a little bit like a Dicken's character novel, a little bit like an Oscar-seeking movie….[Ferguson] designed  as a page-turner. He succeeds fully.”
by The Gazette (Montreal),
“Though there is a touch of humour in its pages, 419 is much more of a showcase for Ferguson's travel-writing talents….A truly enjoyable book….Ferguson is a keen observer of landscapes and cityscapes, and has a brilliant ear for dialogue and accent… you will never see those creative "419" emails in your inbox in quite the same way.”
by NOW magazine,
“A powerful read…Ferguson is a heavy-weight now.”
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