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Becoming Abigail

by Chris Abani

"Compelling and gorgeously written, this is a coming-of-age novella like no other. Chris Abani explores the depths of loss and exploitation with what can only be described as a knowing tenderness. An extraordinary, necessary book."--Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban"Abani's voice brings perspective to every moment, turning pain into a beautiful painterly meditation on loss and aloneness."--Aimee Bender, author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt"Abani's empathy for Abigail's torn life is matched only by his honesty in portraying it. Nothing at all is held back. A harrowing piece of work."--Peter Orner, author of The Esther StoriesTough, spirited, and fiercely independent Abigail is brought as a teenager to London from Nigeria by relatives who attempt to force her into prostitution. She flees, struggling to find herself in the shadow of a strong but dead mother. In spare yet haunting and lyrical prose reminiscent of Marguerite Duras, Abani brings to life a young woman who lives with a strength and inner light that will enlighten and uplift the reader.Chris Abani is a poet and novelist and the author, most recently, of GraceLand, which won the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Prize, a Silver Medal in the California Book Awards, and was a finalist for several other prizes including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His other prizes include a PEN Freedom-to-Write Award, a Prince Claus Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He lives and teaches in California.

Graceland

by Chris Abani

"A richly detailed, poignant, and utterly fascinating look into another culture and how it is cross-pollinated by our own. It brings to mind the work of Ha Jin in its power and revelation of the new. " - T. Coraghessan Boyle The sprawling, swampy, cacophonous city of Lagos, Nigeria, provides the backdrop to the story of Elvis, a teenage Elvis impersonator hoping to make his way out of the ghetto. Nuanced, lyrical, and pitch perfect, this is a remarkable story of a son and his father, and an examination of postcolonial Nigeria, where the trappings of American culture reign supreme.

Hands Washing Water

by Chris Abani

"Chris Abani's poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts through to the heart of human strength."--Pride Hands Washing Water is Chris Abani's fourth poetry collection--a mischievous book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor. The central section, "Buffalo Women," is a Civil War correspondence between lovers that plays on our assumptions about war, gender, morality, and politics. Sweetest Henri, I know we promised to be honest, one to the other, but your recent missive, though welcome as any epistle from you, filled me with a dread that clung like dampness to wet wood. I am terrified for your immortal soul, dear sweet Henri. This mad war of Lincoln is infecting you with a sickness too depraved to even address. . .Abani's writing is ruthless, at times traumatic, and consistently filled with surprising twists and turns.

The Lesser Tragedy of Death

by Cristina García Chris Abani

"[A] brave and moving tribute to a brother gone astray; with skill, unflinching honesty, and redemptive compassion, Cristina García tracks his marvelous, complex, and errant life. . . . These poems are the beautiful, painful, astonishing result of a journey to hell and back in search of the brother she loves. With this first book of poems, García, one of our best novelists and storytellers, proves herself to be a talented poet as well."--Julia Alvarez, author of Saving the World Cristina García is the author of several novels--including Dreaming in Cuban--anthologies, and books for young readers. A National Book Award nominee, she is also a visiting professor and Black Mountain Institute teaching fellow in creative writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Ravenous Audience

by Chris Abani Kate Durbin

"Christianity or cuisine, cinema or sex manuals, Eros or Thanatos, Artaud or Marilyn Monroe? Marry or suture or eat all of them and you are close to Ravenous. A brutal tour de force."--Juan Felipe Herrera, author of Half of the World in Light"Durbin's debut volume sizzles . . . Throughout this deeply feminist, groundbreaking collection, she employs both the elemental forces of her intellect and a vigorous intensity of startling imagery to implode or explode conventional notions of sexuality and womanhood."--Maurya Simon, author of Cartographies"Durbin writes first-rate traditional lyric poems, while at other times she writes poems that push the limits of the avant-garde and, most amazingly, at other times, she makes a loving marriage of the two! This is an exceptional debut by a young poet burning with talent."--Thomas Lux, author of God ParticlesKate Durbin's debut volume is not for the weak of gut. Cum, blood, vomit, and other bodily juices slop off the page in a grotesque reanimation of history and art's female villains and s/heroes. Unlike other feminist revisionist texts, The Ravenous Audience refuses to rescue the "misunderstood" bitches of our cultural past, instead viscerally imposing the scope of their bodily and existential horrors--including each woman's culpability. Durbin even throws the reader, and the poet, into the cauldron. Complicating all easy notions of responsibility, she points the finger in every direction possible--before biting it clean off!

Sanctificum

by Chris Abani

"Abani . . . explores place and humor, exile and freedom with poems of experience and imagination . . . [he] enters the wound with a boldness that avoids nothing. Highly recommended." --Library Journal"Stunning poems." --New HumanistA self-described "zealot of optimism," poet and novelist Chris Abani bravely travels into the charged intersections of atrocity and love, politics and religion, loss and renewal. In poems of devastating beauty, he investigates complex personal history, family, and romantic love.Sanctificum, Abani's fifth collection of poetry, is his most personal and ambitious book. Utilizing religious ritual, the Nigerian Igbo language, and reggae rhythms, Abani creates a post-racial, liturgical love song that covers the globe from Abuja to Los Angeles.I say hibiscus and mean innocence.I say guava and mean childhood.I say mosquito netting and mean loss.I say father and it means only that.Happen that we all dream, but the sea is only sea.Happen that we call upon God but it is only a breezeruffling a prayer book in a small churchwhere benches groan in the heat . . . Chris Abani was born in Nigeria in 1966 and published his first novel at sixteen. He was imprisoned for his writings, and after his release he eventually moved to the United States. He is the author of ten books of poetry and fiction, including the best-selling novel GraceLand. He teaches at the University of California-Riverside and lives in Los Angeles.

The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel

by Chris Abani

A gritty, riveting, and wholly original murder mystery from PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author and 2015 Edgar Awards winner Chris Abani Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he's sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil's own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin. Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Chris Abani's most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Song for Night

by Chris Abani

"Not since Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird or Agota Kristof's Notebook Trilogy has there been such a harrowing novel about what it's like to be a young person in a war. That Chris Abani is able to find humanity, mercy, and even, yes, forgiveness, amid such devastation is something of a miracle. "-Rebecca Brown, author of The End of Youth. "The moment you enter these pages, you step into a beautiful and terrifying dream. You are in the hands of a master, a literary shaman. Abani casts his spell so completely--so devastatingly--you emerge cleansed, redeemed, and utterly haunted."-Brad Kessler, author of Birds in Fall. Part Inferno, part Paradise Lost, and part Sunjiata epic, Song for Night is the story of a West African boy soldier's lyrical, terrifying, yet beautiful journey through the nightmare landscape of a brutal war in search of his lost platoon. The reader is led by the voiceless protagonist who, as part of a land mine-clearing platoon, had his vocal chords cut, a move to keep these children from screaming when blown up, and thereby distracting the other minesweepers. The book is written in a ghostly voice, with each chapter headed by a line of the unique sign language these children invented. This book is unlike anything else ever written about an African war. Chris Abani is a Nigerian poet and novelist and the author of The Virgin of Flames, Becoming Abigail (a New York Times Editor's Choice), and GraceLand (a selection of the Today Show Book Club and winner of the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award). His other prizes include a PEN Freedom to Write Award, a Prince Claus Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He lives and teaches in California.

Song for Night: A Novella

by Chris Abani

"Not since Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird or Agota Kristof's Notebook Trilogy has there been such a harrowing novel about what it's like to be a young person in a war. That Chris Abani is able to find humanity, mercy, and even, yes, forgiveness, amid such devastation is something of a miracle." - Rebecca Brown, author of The End of Youth. "The moment you enter these pages, you step into a beautiful and terrifying dream. You are in the hands of a master, a literary shaman. Abani casts his spell so completely - so devastatingly - you emerge cleansed, redeemed, and utterly haunted. " - Brad Kessler, author of Birds in Fall. Part Inferno, part Paradise Lost, and part Sunjiata epic, Song for Night is the story of a West African boy soldier's lyrical, terrifying, yet beautiful journey through the nightmare landscape of a brutal war in search of his lost platoon. The reader is led by the voiceless protagonist who, as part of a land mine-clearing platoon, had his vocal chords cut, a move to keep these children from screaming when blown up, and thereby distracting the other minesweepers. The book is written in a ghostly voice, with each chapter headed by a line of the unique sign language these children invented. This book is unlike anything else ever written about an African war. Chris Abani is a Nigerian poet and novelist and the author of The Virgin of Flames, Becoming Abigail (a New York Times Editor's Choice), and GraceLand (a selection of the Today Show Book Club and winner of the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award). His other prizes include a PEN Freedom to Write Award, a Prince Claus Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He lives and teaches in California.

The Virgin of Flames

by Chris Abani

From the author of the award-winning GraceLand comes a searing, dazzlingly written novel of a tarnished City of Angels Praised as "singular" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and "extraordinary" (The New York Times Book Review), GraceLand stunned critics and instantly established Chris Abani as an exciting new voice in fiction. In his second novel, set against the uncompromising landscape of East L.A., Abani follows a struggling artist named Black, whose life and friendships reveal a world far removed from the mainstream. Through Black's journey of self- discovery, Abani raises essential questions about poverty, religion, and ethnicity in America today. The Virgin of Flames, a marvelous and gritty novel filled with indelible images and unforgettable characters, confirms Chris Abani as an immensely talented writer.

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