Larhonda Boone's Reviews > GraceLand

GraceLand by Chris Abani
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Jan 14, 11


A SCRIBBLER'S REVIEW

We follow the protagonist, Elvis, through his coming-of-age in Nigeria; a country raked with poverty and violence. The story bounces between life before his mother died and his life after, which takes a terrible turn once his father, Sunday, quits his job with the hopes of winning a local election. Sunday uses alcohol to diffuse his hopelessness, all the while, leaving Elvis to fend for himself in their ravaged-torn landscape. We meet a variety of characters, family and friends alike, (The King of Beggars, Redemption, Oye, etc.) that ultimately shape Elvis into the man he becomes.

"Graceland" is a moving story, rich with detail and horror. A world of violence, fear, indifference, and struggle, Albani conveys a true sense of survival in an honest and shattering way. A revealing, provoking and worthwhile read!

*For the Scribbler:

Description, setting, and pace. Albani's "Graceland" moves slowly, which is a good thing, because you need the time to appreciate Albani's incredible talent for detail. You are not sitting on a sofa absorbing Elvis' life, but you are instead, there next to him as he watches a "necklace of fire", or rests on his tattered mattress watching rats hold onto floating sandals in a flooded room. Albani can not only place you on the scene, but he can also make you feel every ounce of desperation, hope, fear and yes, pain. I'm still shuddering.

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