Welcome to Lagos by Onuzo Chibundu

Welcome to Lagos by Onuzo Chibundu

Download Welcome to Lagos by Onuzo Chibundu PDF book free online -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.


Praise for Welcome to LagosAn Official Belletrist Book Pick
Named a Best Book of the Year by Women.com
An American Booksellers Association Indie Next Pick
Booklist Editors’ Choice
Selected to Best of Summer Reading Lists by ParadeElleNYLONPopSugarThe Millions, PureWow, Women.com, Hearst MediaBitch Media, and 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

Welcome to Lagos, the American debut of Chibundu Onuzo . . . offers an earnest . . . portrait of Nigeria’s sprawling metropolis . . . [The book’s] dialogue rings true. Conversations between Onuzo’s characters move fluidly between Igbo, Yoruba, pidgin and English, demonstrating her skilled ear.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“Delightful.” ―Gary Younge, The Guardian

“Lives as varied as they are storied find themselves together in Lagos. . . . It is a true testament to Onuzo’s natural storytelling skills that she orchestrates, with humor, panache and multilingualism, the meeting of all these characters.” ―Star Tribune

“Onuzo’s lively, well-plotted novel summons up the great city of Lagos with all its complexity.” ―Houston Chronicle

“An adventure to somewhere I’ve never been.” ―Jake Tapper, The Washington Post

“Chike Ameobi may be an army officer in Nigeria but he doesn’t take orders from just anyone. When he’s commanded to take innocent lives, he sets off to Lagos where he gets involved in the midst a new scandal with a new group of misfits, all destined to make a change.” ―Parade

“Heralds the young writer’s great talent, her ability to weave together multiple story lines into one vibrant tapestry, and her gift at inhabiting myriad perspectives while maintaining the singularity of each individual voice.” ―NYLON

“Get to know Lagos in this irresistible masterpiece by Chibundu Onuzo. Searching, or rather, escaping to a better life is the motivation behind the protagonist, Chike’s, arrival to Lagos. But that doesn’t mean that he can escape the political scandals around him.” ―Hearst Media

“Onuzo spins a vivid and wild tale of crisscrossing lives and destinies in a city filled with injustice and opportunity, complexity and corruption.” ―Shondaland

“A funny, insightful celebration of contemporary Nigeria that masterfully answers Adichie’s call to rid the world of ‘single stories.’” ―Chicago Review of Books

“Onuzo does a brilliant job . . . This is a novel full of heart, humanity, grief.” ―The Brooklyn Rail

“Get to know Lagos in this irresistible masterpiece by Chibundu Onuzo. Searching, or rather, escaping to a better life is the motivation behind the protagonist, Chike’s, arrival to Lagos. But that doesn’t mean that he can escape the political scandals around him.” ―WMTW, ABC television affiliate (Portland, ME)

“Lagos as a framing device illustrates the shifting, often tenuous connections between the public and private lives of Nigeria’s citizenry, and the specificity of Onuzo’s details fully embodies each character.” ―Foreword Reviews

Welcome to Lagos is a deftly painted, intricate portrait of a city that isn’t often explored in literature, and Chibundu Onuzo takes readers on a journey to the heart of it, filling each character-driven page with some of the most fascinating scenes we’ve read in a long, long time.” ―PopSugar

“Reminiscent of the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chinua Achebe, Onuzo’s latest follows a Nigerian army officer who deserts his post and flees to Lagos with a band of ragtag runaways.” ―PureWow

“In the streets of the diverse, madcap, magical, and intense city of Lagos, Nigeria, a ragtag group of folks fleeing from different circumstances find a home together, squatting in a politician’s abandoned apartment. The characters are dynamic and fascinating. . . . A remarkable and fresh book.” ―Read It Forward

“A novel that manages to be both savvy and heartfelt, a hopeful testament to human connection and unlikely redemption.” ―The Riveter

“A high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption.” ―Queens Gazette

“A tangy Ocean’s Eleven–esque escapade that exposes class and ethnic divides in the country even as it manages to mock the West for its colonial gaze toward the African continent as a whole. Full of nuance, the story spares no one as it careens toward its satisfying finale.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“In her winning U.S. debut, Onuzo anatomizes a tumultuous city and its inhabitants, from street hustlers to well-connected government ministers. . . . Onuzo’s briskly plotted novel is a rewarding exploration of the limits of idealism and transparency against widespread cynicism and corruption.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Onuzo colorfully and adeptly stitches many patches of dialect, religion, class, and gender to portray life in Lagos. Purchase where curricula include an emphasis on contemporary world literature or where Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is studied.” ―School Library Journal

“Onuzo’s novel is at once a Robin Hood tale and a cross section of Nigerian society. . . . She avoids grand defining statements about Lagos, smartly letting the predicaments of each character show how the city’s lawlessness runs parallel to its bustle. . . . The novel is marked by lively storytelling throughout. A well-turned tribute to the freedom and frustrations of a diverse city.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Welcome to Lagos is a delicate, honest depiction of humanity in a country’s darkest periods. Chibundu Onuzo brilliantly captures the essence of a people and a place.” ―Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes The Sun

“Chibundu Onuzo has written a compulsively readable book that pulsates with the energy of one of the world’s greatest cities. She cracks Lagos wide open, deftly showing us the lives of the strivers, dreamers, orphans, heroes and villains who make up this world. A complex, layered portrait of a singular place that brims with a piercing, incisive affection for its subject” ―Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman

“Overflowing with lush descriptive commentary, Welcome to Lagos doesn’t just give us a glimpse of Nigeria, it transports us there. Onuzo’s storytelling is masterful, her characters are irresistible, and her voice is astounding in its subtle power. Onuzo stands on the shoulders of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and from her perch offers her own fresh, but assured view.” ―Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom

About the Author

Chibundu Onuzo was born in 1991 in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied history at King’s College London and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in history at the same institution. Her short stories have been commissioned by BBC Radio, and she writes for The Guardian, with a special interest in Nigeria.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Evening swept through the Delta: half an hour of mauve before the sky bruised to black. It was Chike Ameobi’s twelfth month as an officer in Bayelsa, twelve months on the barren army base. His first sight of the base had been on an evening like this, bumping through miles of bush, leaves pushing through the open window, insects flying up his nostrils and down the dark passages of his ears. They came to a clearing of burnt soil with charred stumps still rooted in it. Out of this desolation had risen the grey walls of his new home. Later, he would note the birds perched on the loops of barbed wire wheeling round the base. He would spot the garganeys and ruffs gliding through the sky, their long migration from Europe almost over.

He had grown quite fond of the canteen he was making his way to now, a low, squat building with thick plastic sheets tacked to the windows, the walls crumbling with damp. Officers and lower ranks sauntered into the building in an assortment of mufti: woollen bobble hats and black T-shirts, wrappers knotted over the arm or tied round the waist, the slovenly slap of slippers flip-flopping their way inside.

Colonel Benatari sat by the door, watching the soldiers file past. Chike’s commanding officer was a stocky box of a man, his bulk filling the head of his table. The most senior officers on the base flanked the Colonel. They ate from a private stash of food cooked separately in the kitchen. There was always a struggle to clear the Colonel’s table, lower ranks jostling for the remnants of fresh fish and the dregs of wine left over in the bell-shaped crystal glasses.

Chike threaded his way through the hall, edging past square wooden tables and round plastic ones, past benches, stools and armless chairs, no piece of furniture matched to another. His platoon was already seated. He was in charge of twenty-three men, charged to lead them in battle and inspect their kit, to see to their hygiene and personal grooming. They were all still in uniform, not a single button undone. When he sat down, they stretched their hands, the clenched fists of their salutes blooming like doorknobs on each wrist. The conversation did not stop.

‘O boy, you see Tina today? That her bobby.’v

‘What of her nyash?’

‘Like drum.’

‘I go beat am.’

‘Nah me go beat am first.’

‘You think she go ’gree for you?’

‘Why she no go ’gree?’

Tina was a new kitchen worker. His men could talk of little else these days. Chike too had opinions on whether Tina was more beautiful than Ọmọtọla but he knew not to add to these conversations. If he spoke, they would listen politely and then continue, a column of ants marching round a boulder.

Still he ate dinner with them instead of joining the junior officers’ table. He felt an officer should know the men he was in charge of even though these soldiers under his command would rather not be known. They obeyed his orders but questions about their lives and families were met with a silent hostility. His only friend was Private Yẹmi Ọkẹ, the lowest-ranked man in his platoon, now seated next to him and eating his beans without bothering to pick out the weevils. It was the fourth day in a row they were eating beans and dodo but Yẹmi did not seem to mind.

‘Did you shoot today?’ Chike whispered to him. ‘No.’

‘Good. Meet me by the generator hut when you finish.’ There were a few slices of dodo left on Chike’s plate, overripe and soggy with oil. Yẹmi would eat them before coming. Chike left the canteen and went outside to wait for his friend.

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