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Welcome to Lagos
by Chibundu Onuzo




Overview -
An Official Belletrist Book Pick
An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Pick
Selected to Best of Summer Reading Lists by Parade, Elle, NYLON, PopSugar, The Millions, PureWow, Women.com, Hearst Media, Bitch Media, Read it Forward

"Storylines and twists abound. But action is secondary to atmosphere: Onuzo excels at evoking a stratified city, where society weddings feature 'ice sculptures as cold as the unmarried belles' and thugs write tidy receipts for kickbacks extorted from homeless travelers." --The New Yorker

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows it is time to desert his post. As he travels toward Lagos with Yemi, his junior officer, and into the heart of a political scandal involving Nigeria's education minister, Chike becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a different kind of life. Among them is Fineboy, a fighter with a rebel group, desperate to pursue his dream of becoming a radio DJ; Isoken, a 16-year-old girl whose father is thought to have been killed by rebels; and the beautiful Oma, escaping a wealthy, abusive husband.

Full of humor and heart, Welcome to Lagos is a high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption. It offers a provocative portrait of contemporary Nigeria that marks the arrival in the United States of an extraordinary young writer.

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More About Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo

 
 
 

Overview

An Official Belletrist Book Pick
An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Pick
Selected to Best of Summer Reading Lists by Parade, Elle, NYLON, PopSugar, The Millions, PureWow, Women.com, Hearst Media, Bitch Media, Read it Forward

"Storylines and twists abound. But action is secondary to atmosphere: Onuzo excels at evoking a stratified city, where society weddings feature 'ice sculptures as cold as the unmarried belles' and thugs write tidy receipts for kickbacks extorted from homeless travelers." --The New Yorker

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows it is time to desert his post. As he travels toward Lagos with Yemi, his junior officer, and into the heart of a political scandal involving Nigeria's education minister, Chike becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a different kind of life. Among them is Fineboy, a fighter with a rebel group, desperate to pursue his dream of becoming a radio DJ; Isoken, a 16-year-old girl whose father is thought to have been killed by rebels; and the beautiful Oma, escaping a wealthy, abusive husband.

Full of humor and heart, Welcome to Lagos is a high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption. It offers a provocative portrait of contemporary Nigeria that marks the arrival in the United States of an extraordinary young writer.


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936787807
  • ISBN-10: 1936787806
  • Publisher: Catapult
  • Publish Date: May 2018
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

A freewheeling, endlessly entertaining journey

Readers who experience a quiet thrill upon discovering an exciting new novel are likely to encounter that sensation when they read Welcome to Lagos, Chibundu Onuzo’s second work of fiction (and her American debut), a fast-paced story of war refugees, militants and others fleeing conflict in modern- day Nigeria.

The book starts when Chike Ameobi, an officer stationed at a “barren army base” in the Niger Delta, deserts rather than participate in a mission he considers barbaric. Accompanying him is Private Yemi Oke, who shares Chike’s distaste for a commanding officer who wants to “string the scalps of his enemies into a belt.”

They begin a journey to Lagos in search of a better life. Along the way, several others join them, including Fineboy, a teenager who had joined the country’s militants to protest foreign countries taking Nigerian oil; 16-year-old Isoken, who is searching for her parents; and Oma, a woman escaping her wealthy husband, an oil industry employee who—as described in one of the novel’s many great lines—treats her like expensive shoes, “to be polished and glossed but, at the end of the day, to be trodden on.”

When they get to Lagos, they live under a bridge along with other impoverished Nigerians until Fineboy discovers an abandoned, furnished flat beneath a decrepit building. They learn that the flat belongs to Colonel Sandayo, Nigeria’s education minister, who is on the run after taking $10 million earmarked for the country’s failing schools.

Welcome to Lagos casts an entertainingly scathing eye on many aspects of Nigerian society, from oil-hungry corporations to ambitious reporters and the rivalries among ethnic groups. If some characters aren’t fully fleshed out, the novel’s breakneck pace and intricate plotting are nevertheless a treat to savor. This is a winning sophomore effort from a writer to watch.

 

This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 

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