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Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo

Welcome to Lagos (2018)

by Chibundu Onuzo

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1279140,647 (3.69)19



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Great story, wonderful cast of characters - so many of them, yet all so distinct and real. Read it if you like stories about diverse people thrown together into a makeshift family, and appreciate the added bonus of immersion into the giant cultural stew of Lagos. I listened to the audio, read brilliantly by Robin Miles. And lastly - great book cover! ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
This turned out to be a surprisingly light-hearted story about a bunch of ill-assorted characters brought together by a common need to run away to the big city. The sort of thing that would probably make a good film, but feels a little bit flimsy as a novel, especially as it still seems to be locked somewhere in the moral universe of A Christmas carol, where all it takes for the wealthy to redeem themselves from decades of corruption and exploiting the poor is a quixotic act of charity. It's postmodern enough to accept that the quixotic act of charity doesn't actually change the world, but that doesn't seem to matter. Needle-eyes seem to be opening up wherever we look.

On the other hand, there's lots to enjoy in this book - some fascinating and amusing observation of the colourful life of Lagos, some very sharp bits of dialogue, and a nice send-up of the business of broadcast news as practised in the 21st century. Onuzo is certainly someone to watch. ( )
  thorold | Dec 23, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When Nigerian Army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he and his good friend desert the military to strike out on their own.

One by one, they pick up a varied band of followers. The first is a deserter from the rebel militia that Chike has been fighting; then follows a teen age girl who was separated from her parents and survived an attempted rape, and a woman fleeing an abusive marriage.

In their quest to find new lives and stay hidden from those who are pursuing them, they flee to the city of Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. They stumble into the secret hideout of Chief Sandayo, the education minister who has stolen millions of dollars and become involved with a journalist whose desire for truth has put him on the wrong side of a political gang, necessitating that he join other Nigerian refugees in London.

Lots of twists and turns in the plot, but the biggest character is Lagos itself. Wikipedia says that the population of Lagos and its surrounding environs (conurbation – new word for me!) is somewhat disputed but is probably around 21 million, making it the largest city in Africa. Chike's band gives a wonderful slice of life of some of the groups finding haven and cover in this huge city. I definitely came away with an appreciation of some of its many faces.

I received a copy of the audiobook through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. While the narrator, [[Robin Miles]], did a fine job, in the beginning my ear struggled to understand the Nigerian accents, especially the first chapter in which a band of soldiers were in informal conversation.

4 stars ( )
1 vote streamsong | Dec 7, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I read Onuzo's first book The Spider King's Daughter earlier this year, and while I didn't find it an amazing read, I saw a lot of potential in the writing. While Welcome to Lagos is a more solid novel, there were still a lot of issues in the writing.

It's the story of a disparate group of people who wind up banding together. My trouble was that Onuzo didn't show this process well. One minute the were strangers who disliked each other and the next they were living in semi-harmony. It wasn't a believable transition and this impacted my enjoyment of the entire book.

The strength is in showing us Lagos and a few slices of Nigerian life. I greatly enjoyed aspects of the book but couldn't enjoy it as a whole novel.
  mabith | Oct 19, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What a jarring, enlightening, humane story, read in the audiobook version with great empathy by Robin Miles. It's the story of modern Nigeria. It's the story of regular people trying to do the right thing at a time when "doing the right thing" can end your life. Onuzo adds exactly enough background and scenic detail to make the story come alive and to keep even those unfamiliar with current events in Nigeria feel like they can follow and learn. I felt like I understood more about the world at the end than I had before I began, which is exactly the reason I read novels. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote poingu | Oct 8, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571268943, Paperback)

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows that it is time to leave. As he travels towards Lagos, he becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a better life. Their arrival in the city coincides with the eruption of a political scandal. The education minister, Chief Sandayo, has disappeared and is suspected of stealing millions of dollars from government funds. After an unexpected encounter with the Chief, Chike and his companions must make a choice. Ahmed Bakare, editor of the failing Nigerian Journal, is desperate for information. But perhaps the situation is more complex than it appears. As moving as it is mesmerising, Welcome to Lagos is a novel about the power of our dreams for the future and the place of morality in a sometimes hostile world.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 25 Nov 2016 19:34:00 -0500)

"When the 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 scandel 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 are Fineboy, a fighter with a rebel group, desperate to pursue his dream of becoming a radio DJ; Isoken, a sixteen-year-old girl whose father is thought to have been killed by rebels; and the beautiful Oma, escaping a wealthy, abusive husband. Welcome to Lagos is a high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption. Full of humor and heart, it offers a provocative portrait of contemporary Nigeria that marks the arrival in the United States of an extraordinary young writer."--Jacket.… (more)

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