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The Virgin of Flames

by

The Virgin of Flames Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the author of the award-winning GraceLand comes a searing, dazzlingly written novel of a tarnished City of Angels

Praised as "singular" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and "extraordinary" (The New York Times Book Review), GraceLand stunned critics and instantly established Chris Abani as an exciting new voice in fiction. In his second novel, set against the uncompromising landscape of East L.A., Abani follows a struggling artist named Black, whose life and friendships reveal a world far removed from the mainstream. Through Black's journey of self-discovery, Abani raises essential questions about poverty, religion, and ethnicity in America today. The Virgin of Flames, a marvelous and gritty novel filled with indelible images and unforgettable characters, confirms Chris Abani as an immensely talented writer.

Review:

"An L.A. artist's search for identity forms the core of the diffuse but haunting new novel by Nigerian-born poet and Graceland novelist Abani. Black is a 36-year-old muralist living hand to mouth behind the Ugly Store cafe in a bleak area of L.A. He's depressed and in an existential rut: engrossed in his latest work drawing on Catholic iconography (beaten into him as a child by his Salvadoran mother), and still smarting from the disappearance when he was a child of his African father (a NASA engineer) on a Vietnam-era space-related mission, Black feels he's being followed by ghosts — namely, the biblical Gabriel, the angel of annunciation. Sometimes he converses with Gabriel in the spaceship he has constructed in honor of his father above the cafe. Black is also deeply conflicted about his sexuality; a frequenter of female prostitutes, he has recently become obsessed with a local transvestite stripper, Sweet Girl. But Black's malaise may also stem from a curse — involving a malevolent spirit that kills male children — that his father wrote him about. It's a muddle, and it's difficult to care about the plot details. But Abani touches on the far reaches of psychic pain, religious and sexual, and creates a hallucinatory despair." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A bleak, searing and sad portrait of outcasts." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"...Abani imagines a place that is horrifying and tender and absurd in equal measure. But with its uneven tone and meandering story, the book doesn't quite hold together. The language veers from portentous to reportorial, and sometimes falls flat, as in a dull first-date scene between Black and Sweet Girl. As a result the final conflagration carries less impact than it might have. Still, these are the missteps of an ambitious writer with an original perspective. In The Virgin of Flames he audaciously stakes his claim on a city not his own. And wisely, he doesn’t so much try to reveal its hidden side as to give it a costume, or a paint job, of his own making." The New York Times

Synopsis:

From the author of the award-winning GraceLand comes a searing, dazzlingly written novel of a tarnished City of Angels

Praised as “singular” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and “extraordinary” (The New York Times Book Review), GraceLand stunned critics and instantly established Chris Abani as an exciting new voice in fiction. In his second novel, set against the uncompromising landscape of East L.A., Abani follows a struggling artist named Black, whose life and friendships reveal a world far removed from the mainstream. Through Black’s journey of self- discovery, Abani raises essential questions about poverty, religion, and ethnicity in America today. The Virgin of Flames, a marvelous and gritty novel filled with indelible images and unforgettable characters, confirms Chris Abani as an immensely talented writer.

Synopsis:

From the author of the award-winning GraceLand comes a searing, dazzlingly written novel of a tarnished City of Angels

Praised as “singular” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and “extraordinary” (The New York Times Book Review), GraceLand stunned critics and instantly established Chris Abani as an exciting new voice in fiction. In his second novel, set against the uncompromising landscape of East L.A., Abani follows a struggling artist named Black, whose life and friendships reveal a world far removed from the mainstream. Through Black’s journey of self- discovery, Abani raises essential questions about poverty, religion, and ethnicity in America today. The Virgin of Flames, a marvelous and gritty novel filled with indelible images and unforgettable characters, confirms Chris Abani as an immensely talented writer.

About the Author

Chris Abani, author of GraceLand and Becoming Abigail, was born in Nigeria and has lived in London, New York, and Los Angeles. He is currently an associate professor at the University of California, Riverside.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143038771
Author:
Abani, Chris
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Artists
Subject:
California
Subject:
East Los Angeles (Calif.)
Subject:
Street art -- California -- Los Angeles.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20070131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
7.78x5.28x.84 in. .58 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Virgin of Flames Used Trade Paper
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143038771 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "An L.A. artist's search for identity forms the core of the diffuse but haunting new novel by Nigerian-born poet and Graceland novelist Abani. Black is a 36-year-old muralist living hand to mouth behind the Ugly Store cafe in a bleak area of L.A. He's depressed and in an existential rut: engrossed in his latest work drawing on Catholic iconography (beaten into him as a child by his Salvadoran mother), and still smarting from the disappearance when he was a child of his African father (a NASA engineer) on a Vietnam-era space-related mission, Black feels he's being followed by ghosts — namely, the biblical Gabriel, the angel of annunciation. Sometimes he converses with Gabriel in the spaceship he has constructed in honor of his father above the cafe. Black is also deeply conflicted about his sexuality; a frequenter of female prostitutes, he has recently become obsessed with a local transvestite stripper, Sweet Girl. But Black's malaise may also stem from a curse — involving a malevolent spirit that kills male children — that his father wrote him about. It's a muddle, and it's difficult to care about the plot details. But Abani touches on the far reaches of psychic pain, religious and sexual, and creates a hallucinatory despair." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A bleak, searing and sad portrait of outcasts."
"Review" by , "...Abani imagines a place that is horrifying and tender and absurd in equal measure. But with its uneven tone and meandering story, the book doesn't quite hold together. The language veers from portentous to reportorial, and sometimes falls flat, as in a dull first-date scene between Black and Sweet Girl. As a result the final conflagration carries less impact than it might have. Still, these are the missteps of an ambitious writer with an original perspective. In The Virgin of Flames he audaciously stakes his claim on a city not his own. And wisely, he doesn’t so much try to reveal its hidden side as to give it a costume, or a paint job, of his own making."
"Synopsis" by ,
From the author of the award-winning GraceLand comes a searing, dazzlingly written novel of a tarnished City of Angels

Praised as “singular” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and “extraordinary” (The New York Times Book Review), GraceLand stunned critics and instantly established Chris Abani as an exciting new voice in fiction. In his second novel, set against the uncompromising landscape of East L.A., Abani follows a struggling artist named Black, whose life and friendships reveal a world far removed from the mainstream. Through Black’s journey of self- discovery, Abani raises essential questions about poverty, religion, and ethnicity in America today. The Virgin of Flames, a marvelous and gritty novel filled with indelible images and unforgettable characters, confirms Chris Abani as an immensely talented writer.

"Synopsis" by ,
From the author of the award-winning GraceLand comes a searing, dazzlingly written novel of a tarnished City of Angels

Praised as “singular” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and “extraordinary” (The New York Times Book Review), GraceLand stunned critics and instantly established Chris Abani as an exciting new voice in fiction. In his second novel, set against the uncompromising landscape of East L.A., Abani follows a struggling artist named Black, whose life and friendships reveal a world far removed from the mainstream. Through Black’s journey of self- discovery, Abani raises essential questions about poverty, religion, and ethnicity in America today. The Virgin of Flames, a marvelous and gritty novel filled with indelible images and unforgettable characters, confirms Chris Abani as an immensely talented writer.

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