Becoming Abigail by Chris Abani
Reviewed by Nathan Ihara
"Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail, the follow-up to his PEN/Hemingway award-winning Graceland, is rich with suffering. In 34 brief and lyrical chapters, Abani sketches the life of Abigail Tansi, a 14-year-old Igbo girl. It is abjectly Hobbesian: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. The novella begins with a flashback to the funeral of Abigail's mother (also named Abigail), the air filled with the sound of women weeping: 'A deep lowing, a presence, dark and palpable, like a shadow...a thing that circled the grave and the mourners in a predatory manner.' This is an apt description of the novella itself ? if Becoming Abigail were a noise, it would be a wail...." Read the entire LA Weekly Review.