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Glittering City

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  23 reviews
'"Forget all your fears now. Have a fling this night"'

Untrustworthy, charming Fussy Joe spins stories and breaks hearts in this rollicking story set in the 'sensational city' of 1960s Lagos.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, internatio
Paperback, 64 pages
Published February 22nd 2018 by Penguin Classics (first published 1966)
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Average rating 3.13  · 
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 ·  209 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Now, listen! Forget all your fears now. Have a fling this night. You see? Life is short and must be enjoyed.

O that restless, vibrant and tempting big town life that with its bedazzling lustre and bustling energy sucks in gullible and innocuous newcomers, ingénues coming from the rural areas, young women falling into the ostensibly loving but actually preying arms of the night – a boisterous biotope where hagglers and scroungers thrive, men like Fussy Joe, taking his stand at the station to seiz
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Whilst perusing a new African bookshop here in Berlin, I picked up Glittering City by Cyprian Ekwensi. Yes, I'm a cheap hoe, and no, I don't have any regrets. My two bucks were very well spent on this book. Even though I didn't care much for the story, I'm definitely interested in Cyprian as a writer and cannot wait to pick up Jagua Nana next; I just need to finish Achebe's African Trilogy first, no biggie, right? This is the reason why I appreciate Penguin for including and publishing diverse a ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
In Cyprian Ekwensi's short story, 'untrustworthy, charming Fussy Joe spins tall tales and breaks hearts in this rollicking story set in the "sensational city" of 1960s Lagos.' First published in 1966, reading Glittering City was my first taste of Ekwensi's work. I found that the opening descriptions of person and place helped to set the tone of the whole, rather than paying too much attention to the scene. I did find that Nigeria was used barely at all as a setting, aside from several short and ...more
Steffi ~mereadingbooks~
I get that this is a story that needs to be read in context.

I love that Penguin Modern has included a Nigerian author from the 60s in their collection.
And I'm sure I would've never come into contact with Ekwensi's work if it weren't for this little book.
Unfortunately, this was not for me.

The main character - a not very likable man-about-town roaming the city of Lagos - has been written for the reader to hate him. He's arrogant, he's a liar, he's manipulative. At the same time he seems to have
Dane Cobain
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Out of all of the Penguin Mini Moderns that I’ve read so far, this one feels the most complete. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, we follow the life of Fussy Joe, a musician who lives life to the full. I enjoyed it.

Helen Marquis
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Welcome to Lagos and here's Fussy Joe to welcome you to the city. If you're beautiful, young, female and alone, he'll take you under his wing, show you a good time that, more likely than not, will turn into a bad time for you, all while his wife and child sit at home waiting....
This short tome is packed with vivid depictions of the wild side of Lagos, with bars filled with dancing, drinks and laughter. A glossy, shiny, happy place, with a wafer-thin veneer, beneath which lies a seedy underbelly
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The bustling Lagos is the wonderfully realised setting for this kaleidoscopic tale of Fussy Joe, a wide boy and philanderer extraordinaire. Trailing him through his increasingly complicated love-life, one gets the sense that the city is just not big enough for him. Joe is a trumpeter and I imagined this with a wild jazz soundtrack behind it throughout. It creates quite a spell.
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Glittering City starts off reasonably well introducing us to Fussy Joe, a complete cad who cheats and lies his way around town and around women. We meet the lovely Essi and watch their interaction as well as Lilli the mother of his child. The language is simple although there are a few anachronisms that take you out of the story and you get caught up in 1960’s Lagos. Unfortunately the story turns into a kind of action movie with car chases and histrionics towards the end which seems strange in s ...more
Lilly  Minasyan
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Forget all your fears bow. Have a fling this night.”
A story about a man named Fussy Joe or a typical worthless human being, who likes to play with women’s hearts and women who are not smart enough to see through his bullshit. Glad, he did bit get away. First book from this author. Pretty good!
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: penguin-modern
To qoute Lurch in the Addams Family...
Ronan Mcdonnell
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is Nick Cave's Bunny Munroe, 40 years before it happened and a continent away.
An odd little book, it follows the intensely dislikable protagonist Fussy Joe. In doing so we meet his many women and strangely end up knowing more about them than we do him. And that's no bad thing by any stretch.
It does conjure up another world, another time. The city comes alive and Africa feels like being on the cusp of growth. Time has since intervened to show this for a foolish hope, but that sense of a self
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite a sweet short story, about the downfall of liars and those who fall for them. Would be moralistic, yet is told with warmth for the flaws of the tale's characters, and with enough cinematic detail to imbue the characters with a fateful elegance and give poignancy to their self-deceit.
T P Kennedy
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
An engaging little novella. A nice sample of this author's work. It's warm, populated by interesting characters and rattles along. Good fun.
Fabrizio Ciatti
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Once again this marvelous Penguin's collection presented me with the chance to come across an author like Cyprian Ekwensi that I would have hardly known otherwise.

'Glittering city' is a short story about Fussy Joe and Lagos, the Nigerian city that serves as the stage for Fussy Joe's nocturnal adventures.

Fussy Joe is a charming, deeply amoral trumpeter. He divides his life between chasing women and playing jazz music. No woman can resist the fascination for this character, for his humor and intr
Kymberly  Courage
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A nice short read about a young man in Lagos, whose dubious character eventually led to his ultimate demise. You'll understand and appreciate the novella better if you are African or have a knowledge of how Lagos operates. I think the title greatly complements the story line. Similar to the American dream most attributable to the Big Apple, Nigerians also have this dream and Lagos is known as the hub for such success. Glittering City was published in the 60's and Lagos ceased to be the capital i ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ekwensi is probably my favourite of the old school 1950s African writers. This long short-story (a novelette?) is a picaresque featuring highlife music, beautiful women and comical misunderstandings. The main character Fussy Joe is a scammer and a lothario who finds out that there are consequences to living that kind of life.
The writing was beautiful and felt like it flowed off the page. The story on the other hand didn’t really do anything for me, but it was interesting to see so many parallels to life in Nigeria to those in the USA. Would definitely consider more works by this author.

PS-I am loving these penguin modern classics. Can’t wait for my little black classics to arrive!!
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Maybe I mistakenly expected more of 'Nigeria' or 'Africa' in this book when I bought it- my bias, my bad. In that sense I liked that it was a straightforward, entertaining story, if a bit predictable. I'd like to read more of the author's work to expand my opinion on his writing.
Shubhangi Sood
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Riveting read!
Matthew Fleming
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Quite bizarrely paced and a little annoying in the first half - but stick with it as the ending is really brilliant!
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy-owned
Bacaan sekali duduk. Ceritanya seputar womanizer yang akhirnya berakhir tragis hidupnya karena mau kabur dari polisi.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
An unexpected take on a coming of age love story.
Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)
I bought this mint colored cutie during my last travel adventure in a lovely book shop in Venice. I love travelling and I wanted to start the tradition to always bring a tiny book along with me to future travel destinations, leave a little note in it and send it off to other travel readers or maybe local readers by placing it in a cafe, free library or a hostel/ hotel etc. But who knows when a next trip is going to happen? Who knows if this book will be able to fulfill its purpose?

I decided to
Jamie Donnelly
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Dec 09, 2018
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Jul 28, 2018
Thomas Underwood
rated it it was ok
Oct 05, 2020
Catherine Foley
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Jun 10, 2019
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Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi was a novelist famous for his Jaguar Nana series and many others. He wrote for children under the name C.O.D. Ekwensi.

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