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Welcome to Lagos

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,773 ratings  ·  288 reviews
Deep in the Niger Delta, officer Chike Ameobi deserts the army and sets out on the road to Lagos. He is soon joined by a wayward private, a naive militant, a vulnerable young woman and a runaway middle-class wife. The shared goals of this unlikely group: freedom and new life.

As they strive to find their places in the city, they become embroiled in a political scandal.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 7th 2017 by Faber & Faber
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Felice Laverne
Prayer was all the recommendation he heard for Nigeria these days. For every crisis, eyes were shut, knees engaged, heads pointed to Mecca and backs turned to the matter at hand.

Chibundu Onuzo’s sophomore novel, Welcome to Lagos, is a novel deeply embedded in the heart and soul of Lagos, Nigeria. This is book is not meant to be a tourist's guide to the city. It is neither positive propaganda nor demonstratively negative toward the culture or the state; it is simply a snapshot in Nigerian truth.
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”The only time something is wrong in Nigeria is when you’re caught.”

i struggled at the beginning of this book. short chapters with many characters coupled with my limited reading time meant that i was having to start-and-stop this a lot, and every time i picked it back up, i would have forgotten the differentiating details between the characters and their backstories were blurring, but once everyone actually got to lagos and their separate stories started to become one story, things not only got
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was quite a mixture, but despite some reservations I did enjoy it. There is a warmth and humanity about it and it tells a good story. Onuzo is still only 27 and is clearly a talented writer. The story concerns a group of misfits travelling to Lagos. Chike is an officer in the Nigerian army; he is serving in the Niger delta and fighting militants in the area. He is disillusioned and not sure he is on the side of right. He and his subaltern Remi desert and set off for Lagos. They soon ...more
Lark Benobi
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, nigeria, africa
A jarring, enlightening, humane story, read in the audiobook version with great empathy by Robin Miles. It's the story of modern Nigeria. It's the story of regular people trying to do the right thing at a time when "doing the right thing" can end your life. Onuzo adds exactly enough background and scenic detail to make the story come alive and to keep even those unfamiliar with current events in Nigeria feel like they can follow and understand. I was not able to follow the book with just the ...more
Alice Lippart
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Starts off wonderfully, but falters towards the end. Very interesting comments on politics, history and current events though, and worth the read.
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Darn, this started out so good – the writing rivaled Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s for the longest time, and the story was so compelling – but by the halfway mark the plot had taken an unbearably hokey turn, while the prose had lost much of its nuance and freshness before that. I could not continue. I would certainly try a later novel by this writer, though.
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Welcome to Lagos is an entertaining and naïvely optimistic book. I could not stop reading as I found myself rooting for some of the characters. Onuzo’s Lagos is chaotic and over-populated, but sadly never really delved into to exhibit the crazy nuances that make it all work like a clock that has been patched up so often that none of the original parts remain. I know because it was my home for 20 years and where all my formative memories are. The setting suffers a certain superficiality but given ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My review:

Stop complaining about this country. Do something.

Authentic. Funny. Brilliant. This book was such a joy to read. I'm kind of in awe of how well these characters made this inspiring story come to life.

When Officer Chike abandons his post in the army and makes a decision to travel to Lagos, he's joined by Oma, escaping her abusive husband, Fineboy, the harmless and hilarious aspiring radio host, as well as Isoken & Yemi. When they get to Lagos they hunker
Ben Babcock
I want to start with the author bio at the end of this book: “Chibundu Onuzo was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1991.” When I read this, I did a doubletake, because that makes Onuzo only 25 years old and 2 years younger than me. I had just assumed she was much older, because her voice sounds so much older, so much richer in terms of experience and worldliness. I am in awe, and in no small part envious, of this 25-year-old’s talent.

I first encountered Onuzo and her writing quite recently, when I read
Janelle | She Reads with Cats
I’m so thankful to Catapult for my free copy of WELCOME TO LAGOS by Chibundu Onuzo - all opinions are my own.

I really loved this book! The story starts by following Chike and Yemi, who desert the Nigerian army when ordered to gun down innocent civilians. During their journey, they meet others along the way who desperately need to escape from their current predicament and end up with a tight knit, ragtag family of misfits. They then set off, without money or connections, to the city of Lagos. The
Abbie | ab_reads
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to Lagos ended up not being the book I was expecting it to be, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it any less! What I got was a surprising (probably more my fault because I never really read synopses in much detail) but thoroughly engaging and fascinating read, with an insight into the political workings of Nigeria.
When I say political workings I don’t mean that it’s a factual, non-fiction inspection of the political systems - Onuzo more gives you a glimpse of the way things work
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-reviews
I was so pleased with this book! Welcome to Lagos is both the story of a ragtag group of misfits and a searing criticism of the rampant corruption of Nigeria. Chibundu Onuzo’s writing is crisp, clever and easy to inhale. Welcome to Lagos is her debut novel (she is a shocking 27 years old) and I will definitely be keeping my eye out for her next book.

Welcome to Lagos centers around a group of runaways. Chike and Yemi desert the army after being ordered to gun down a group of innocent civilians.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. A novel of survival in which Lagos becomes a central character. The author does a great job of conveying the the vibrancy, chaos and corruption of Lagos, Nigeria. The prose is so cogent that readers will come to think of Lagos as a well developed character along with the rest of this motley crew. The main protagonist Officer Chike Amoebi has deserted the Nigerian army, having tired of killing and burning villages and he sets out for Lagos, as a place to hide and perhaps rebuild a life.

Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is an interesting book, generally fun and humorous but also inconsistent in plotting and tone; the author is young and probably still finding her feet. It begins with two young men deserting the Nigerian army after being asked to participate in the massacre of a Niger Delta village; on their way to Lagos to start a new life, they attract a motley crew including a well-off woman fleeing an abusive marriage, a teenage girl who has just lost her parents, and a young man chasing his dream to be ...more
Amaka Azie
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Well written with very believable imagery and dialogue. Almost like I was catapulted back to Lagos.
This is a cleverly crafted tale about 5 strangers who escaped from their lives in Niger Delta and moved to Lagos to start over. Although there were many characters and POV ( I usually hate that in books), they were relatable and I got attached to each of them— their struggles in Lagos, and the solidarity they shared.
We are also introduced to Chief Sandayo, a
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Welcome to Lagos. Is there a city in the world that offers a more improbable welcome?

This is a comic satire on the corruption, poverty and violence of modern Nigeria. We see all of Nigeria’s ills paraded through the lens of Chike and Yemi, soldiers who have deserted in disillusionment at being asked to torch a village and shoot the fleeing villagers. With no plan, they head into the jungle, rescue a couple of runaways (a chancer called Fineboy and a young woman called Isoken) and head off for
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The intensity of the human spirit roams free throughout these pages as the lowly wrestle the mighty in Welcome to Lagos.

How this diverse city can generate such wildly contrasting ways of existence is undoubtedly outrageous: power, wealth, the highly questionable morals VS squalor, resilience, and a yearning to forge a better path.

Regardless of where you are in the food chain there appears to be an impossible level of ambition to achieve, which continually falls under scrutiny by your peers and
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-fic, reviewed
Unexpectedly cheerful handling of grim subject matter, something that reads like a fairy tale, where a group of strangers can come together, on purpose or despite themselves or a bit of both, and change things. Maybe not many things, maybe not for very long, but some things for some time. Lagos bursts at the seams, but within its polluted underbelly there is friendship and loyalty and trust.

I'm wearily used to reading lit fic with one eye open, waiting for the rape or murder or bloody crackdown
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Our little tiny wonderful pup passed away last year, after a long, agonizing illness. (I still can't type those words without crying, and it's been some ten months.) While he was really sick, I was home all the time, and this was one of the books I chose, to take me out and away from how sad things were—something wholly removed from my life, just completely outside of my existence.

It worked for that. Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria, and it was fascinating to learn about that town and its
Isis Smith
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the writing and the story. It's funny, full of imagery, efficient use of words. Certain plot elements seem simultaneously surreal and yet totally plausible. IMO she does a good job showing affection for Nigerians and disappointment with Nigeria. Though not Nigerian, as a Detroiter, I feel a similar tension between love for home and the despair I have felt there.
I have no idea how accurate her depiction of Lagos was, but reading this book, I was definitely transported to another world.
Jaclyn Crupi
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Onuzo does an excellent job portraying the politics and corruption of Lagos. This snapshot shows how complicated life can be in a city like Lagos. Her unlikely cast of characters, thrown together by circumstances, make for an interesting group dynamic. The book drags a little at the end I found though the actual last line is perfection. As Onuzo herself has said, Nigeria's greatest exports is her literature. You certainly find out a lot about life in Lagos but I was hoping for a bit more heart. ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
MAY BOOK IS HERE! ‘Welcome to Lagos’ by Chibundu Onuzo . You can purchase this book 20% off and support indie by following the link in our profile to buy from our bookstore of the month Astoria Bookshop using code ‘BELLE20'. Reading tip from Emma and Karah: there are a lot of different names and a lot of concurrent stories so we suggest writing down names as they come so you remember to which part of the story each name pertains.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Onuzo creates a wonderful cast of characters and sets them on the road to Lagos. I loved her core characters so much that while I appreciated her portrayal of Lagos and its people, the book lost a bit of focus for me once they got to Lagos and she brought in more characters. Still, this was a very enjoyable book--funny, informative and sweet. Excellent narration by Robin Miles on the audiobook.
Cat  (cat-thecatlady)
really interesting comment on politcs, moral and life in Lagos and in Nigeria, as well as the outside world. liked the unlikely and strange group of protagonists but I have to admit some of the prose felt a bit too detached and very slow at times.
The Book Banque
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
My first encounter with Lagos in African fiction, however, was through Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come. The Lagos here is grand, and unlike the grimy Lagos of Teju Cole’s Every Day Is For The Thief. Its every nook and cranny - from its opulent and gated communities on ‘the island’, to its “riotous warrens of streets” on the mainland and secrets tucked away in alleyways - is best captured by Toni Kan’s The Carnivorous City. The Lagos he presents is a city that caresses and consumes - one ...more
Greg Zimmerman
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First appeared at

Chibundu Onuzo is a 27-year-old Nigerian writer who has already published two extremely well-received novels — her first titled The Spider King's Daughter when she was 21, and her second novel, Welcome to Lagos, which just came out in early May. Yes, she's a bit of a wunderkind, and so I've been excited to read her for that reason along. But also, because I've read every word another famous Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has
What can I say about this book? It's full of people, the way I can imagine streets of Lagos are full of people with so many different stories. Welcome to Lagos is a story of seven different people, each of them running away, escaping their past, looking for new home in Lagos. Seven people whose lives intersect on a bus to Lagos and from then on, they stay together and share an extraordinary journey. Common goal can bring all sorts of people together.

The main focus of the group is Chike, leader
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I’ve read nine novels from Nigeria since starting this blog, and it’s safe to say that most of them feature the corruption and incompetence of Nigerian government, the slums of the city contrasted with a simpler rural life and the conflict between imported faiths and the residual belief in the spirit world. Welcome to Lagos explores the same themes but is a bit more nuanced in its portrayal of corruption.

Nigerian born Chibundu Onuzo (b.1991) burst into the literary scene with her first novel The
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chibundu Onuzo was only born in 1991 and "Welcome to Lagos" is already her second novel. Besides having a beautiful cover, this book bursts with wonderful characters and a great, fun story.

The novel starts in the Niger Delta, where officer Chike Ameobi (together with private Yemi) deserts the army. On the run, they bump into Fineboy, who belonged to the rebels, but whose big dream is to be a radio host, and Isokan, a young woman, who fled from an attack in which she was separated from her
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such an enjoyable read , which highlighted the turmoil in Nigeria socially and politically whilst creating an engaging cast of characters and filling its narrative with emotion and humour.
The story centres around five people who meet and form a small group together as they travel to Lagos . The book opens with soldier Chike and his colleague Yemu, so upset by their commanding officers orders to massacre villagers in a Niger delta village they desert their company, on their walk they
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Chibundu Onuzo was born in Nigeria in 1991 in Lagos and is the youngest of four children. She is a History graduate from King's College London and is currently an MSc student in Public Policy at the University College of London.

“Be courageous, not brave. Bravery was to dash out of the bomb shelter and grab the child left crying on the veranda. Courage was to go to the stream the day after a bomb had scattered your friend on that path because water must be fetched to sustain the life that was left.” 3 likes
“If you prefer sitting in traffic to sitting at your desk, if you pass office hours waiting for closing time, if you spend more time on Facebook than you do attending to important emails then perhaps it's time for you to consider quitting your job.” 0 likes
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