For a historic overview, I’d suggest “Lagos: A Cultural Historical past,” by Kaye Whiteman. It traces the historical past of town from the arrival of Portuguese explorers in 1472 to the British takeover in 1861 and up to date occasions. It takes us via the topography of Lagos (the Island-Mainland dichotomy), the streets and their tales, town’s nightlife and its movie, music, artwork and literary scenes.
What books ought to I convey together with me?
Teju Cole’s novel “Each Day Is for the Thief” is styled like a travelogue. The unnamed narrator has simply returned to Lagos from New York after 15 years. He wanders across the metropolis musing on its danfo buses, web scammers, space boys, policemen, music middle and the like. He characterizes the physique language of Lagosians as one among “undiluted self-assurance,” their facial expressions proclaiming, “Belief me, you don’t wish to mess with me,” all to counter the realm boys. You’ll discover Lagos at its perfect (its individuals heat, stoic, wildly inventive) and at its worst (avenue lynchings). All through the narrative, there’s a sense of decay, one which mirrors that of all the nation. In a poignant episode, the narrator visits the Nigerian Nationwide Museum within the Onikan neighborhood and finds the reveals meager, the sculptures and plaques “caked in mud” and “badly mildewed.”
Chris Abani’s postmodern “GraceLand” is usually set in Eighties Lagos within the swampy slums of Maroko. Elvis, 16, is a highschool dropout. He aspires to turn into an expert dancer. At first, he tries to subsist by impersonating Elvis Presley for white expatriates, carrying a wig and dousing his face with talcum powder. His buddy Redemption leads him into crime, with devastating penalties. At occasions brutal and horrific, the novel can also be tender and hopeful in its portrayal of deprivation, dictatorship and disillusionment. Furthermore, its pastiche narrative contains notes on Igbo philosophy and recipes for delectable Nigerian dishes.
In distinction to Abani’s Elvis, Enitan, the protagonist of Sefi Atta’s “Every thing Good Will Come,” grows up center class. Born in 1960, the yr Nigeria gained independence, Enitan’s transition into womanhood takes place in opposition to a backdrop of the Nigerian civil struggle, navy juntas and widespread corruption. Regardless of her privileged place (she works as a lawyer and later as a banker), she struggles to navigate her patriarchal society, the recurrent sexism she suffers (even from her father) and the trauma of a buddy’s rape. The affecting narrative proffers feminist options for a troubled nation.
In Lagos, you’ll wish to attempt some Nigerian meals. The traditional Nigerian jollof? The fragrant suya or moin-moin? No matter your urge for food, “Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Intercourse and Nigerian Style Buds,” by Yemisi Aribisala, is constructed for it. This fascinating assortment of essays is an element memoir, half cookbook and half epicurean treatise — and employs Nigerian delicacies as a framework for analyzing Nigerian society, tradition and folklore. Vital themes embrace the urban-rural divide, the chafing of the standard in opposition to “the fashionable” and the ethics underpinning the consumption of controversial meals similar to canine meat. Aribisala’s prose is energetic, adroit, a pleasure to learn. The e-book enhances the recipes in Abani’s “GraceLand.”
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