The sprawling, swampy, cacophonous city of Lagos, Nigeria, provides the backdrop to the story of Elvis, a teenage Elvis impersonator hoping to. GraceLand has ratings and reviews. Jon said: I have mixed feelings about this book and while I’m glad I read it, it’s a difficult book to recom. By switching between flashbacks and the present, and sprinkling in some gritty scenes (child rape) and colorful detail (quoting John Wayne).

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This novel blew me away! He was pretty much screwed from the beginning, if poverty didn’t gracelanx him, success would; an irony as bitter as the situation in what could have been one of the richest countries in Africa.

Quick Review: Chris Abani’s Graceland

The novel jumps between two settings, the village of Afikpo from untiland Lagos from and onward. Follow Shaun on Twitter shaunrandol. The tale about Elvis’ life in Lagos, his relationships with his family esp. Jones is African American, but spent a year in Nigeria when her father was a Fulbright scholar there. We allow access to the Western reader, but also say we don’t care about what you xbani.

Jun 04, Isabel rated it liked it. Elvis is a flawed boy that you can’t help but love. GraceLand left me satisfied, but I hope that Abani – who was raised in a mansion with cars and servents – doesn’t continue to romanticize the poor, abused artist.

However, this is complicated by the numerous illegal and morally questionable jobs he takes part in with his friend Redemption. And he influenced people like Fela Kuti. He came to the university where I work to speak to a room full of international students, and over a delectable plate of Southern soul food, he told stories. Dec 24, Kevin Warman rated it it was amazing. What I like about the book is the poetry, the sheer grace of the language. What I found most interesting about the book, though, is the almost complete congruence of Elvis and Black, the protagonist of Abani’s later novel, The Virgin of Flames.


Though the characters are make believe, anyone who reads the newspapers or watches the BBC news knows that Elvis’ journey happens everyday.

Some people name their children after saints or forefathers in the hope that they will be, well, graced with their good sides. Empty bottles were valuable because the local Coca-Cola factory washed and reused them.

Some of the characters that are featured prominently are his father, Sunday Oke, a brusque drunk, who after GraceLand is about man named Elvis Oke, told in alternating narratives between the time he arrives in Lagos and the time of his life living in an area called Afikpo, prior to arriving in Lagos. After growing up poor and undernourished, his body couldn’t handle the comfort food and the drugs he could suddenly afford after growing rich off cover versions of black artists, heh.

But what bugged me about the book was the back-and-forth time gracdland Abani used. This familial fall-out of the dislocations and impoveri A powerful exploration of the costs of colonialism registered through masculinity and sexuality.

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GraceLand – Wikipedia

View all 3 comments. You can see this link much more in music. I enjoyed Song For Abbani and hoped Abani would deliver in this book. Worth reading for its searing depiction of modern Africa, but Abani is no Chinua Achebe. Apr 25, Bjorn rated it liked it Shelves: I’m not sure what to say about Graceland.

Sept 6 33 Jun 26, He’s America and Europe’s little African darling. A large gdaceland of the novel is concerned with the concept of criminality. Though Elvis strays from his path and is lost in the dark wood of his country in strife, his mother through her written notes on Igbo culture and her record of recipes for sustenance and medicine, reading more graceand prophecies, keep Elvis sane and compassionate.

This would have been a far better book if he could have kept that tone of gentle parody up for the length of the novel. And he can definitely do that. Sunday eventually moves the family to Chrsi, when Elvis is sixteen, to a slum called Maroko.

Abani is a first novelist with a very bright future.


Either way, I assume it doesn’t really matter to Chris Abani. Unfortunately, like many “African” books, the characters fall under the will of corruption and violence. I picked up GraceLand because I was curious and hopeful about its novel structure. He was sure the crowd made quite a sight: Graceland is the story of a son and his father, and an examination of postcolonial Nigeria, where the trappings of American culture reign supreme.


Each play tug-o-war with Elvis’ conscience.

Makota is a terrible place, in which, as you expect, a multitude of horrifying events unfold, but what sets this book apart from others which explore Nigeria’s brutal recent history is the honest examination cjris each excruciating and lovely detail of the protagonist’s life.

Mar 27, Jeri Rowe rated it liked it. The Aabani of Beggars, on the other hand, attempts to direct Elvis to a different path. It came to me just in time. The writer wonderfully describes the significance of the Kola, the importance and power of traditional medicines and those that practice them, and the recipes are fun. The theme gracfland criminality, which is also addressed through a number of other characters, is useful in discussing the justifications of crime. The graceeland year old smoking the cigarette says as much about Chris Abani’s over-stated portrait of poverty in Lagos as any of the prose within.

At best, they get to choose their own encore. While I certainly think it’s about time a mass-market paperback about the current conditions in industrialized West Africa, Abani presents his critique of American imperialism within a whole lot of artistry or subtlety. Publishers Weekly highlighted its two-fold ability to tell the story of Elvis, and the larger issues of poverty and globalization: Except the poor sods who live in the dark slum that you’re describing so lovingly for your audience.

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