Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Graceland....(Not that One)

I originally picked this book up some time ago. I loved the cover art. I didn't care what it was about. This photo immediately caught my attention. I just finished this book and I must say that the art work was a good indicator. It turned out to be a pretty good read. If you're an avid reader, feel free to swipe a copy of it at your local library, Amazon, Barnes and Noble...

Elvis Oke, a teenage Elvis impersonator in Lagos, Nigeria, attempts to come of age in spite of an alcoholic father who beats him and a soul-crushing ghetto environment that threatens to engulf him. Beset by floods, vermin, and the ubiquitous Colonel, chief of military security in Lagos, Elvis lives from day to day, saturated by a bizarrely out of date, misunderstood version of American pop culture and remembering his life in the country before his mother died and his father lost his career. Immigration to the U.S. is Elvis' dream, shared by his underworld friend, Redemption, although their notion of America comes mainly from untranslated, decades-old movies, all of which are interpreted only in terms of the conflict between John Wayne (all good guys) and Actor (everyone else). The novel offers a vibrant picture of an alien yet somehow parallel culture, and while the plot runs off the rails from time to time, the mix of surrealistic horror and cross-cultural humor is irresistible. Abani is a first novelist with a very bright future. Bill Ott

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