Book Review: Lagos Noir Edited by Chris Abani

“You’ll recall the evening of her first transgression and that you had forgotten about her being half naked in your bedroom, trying on your clothes. And you’d despised yourself on this. You’d wished you had not stayed quite, had not walked over to your side of the bedroom and picked up your phone from the dresser, when you should have slapped the girl across the room. Your mother always said you had a heart like an akara – you could go through fire and remain soft. Turns out your mother was right”.

JOY by Wale Lawal…… Surulere

Another collection of short stories done and dusted. After reading International Sisi Eko,  I decided to continue on the short stories route as my time for reading in the past month has been limited.

Lagos Noir is a collection of 13 short stories about Lagos, Nigeria with a noir theme ( a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism and moral ambiguity). This collection paints vivid pictures of the dark side of Lagos from different parts of the city and my favorites will be Joy, Heaven’s Gate, Eden, Choir Boy and Killer Ape.

It wasn’t a captivating read especially the introduction which I found a bit disjointed. I was only  able to finish reading this book because I didn’t read the book in a chronological manner. This helped me as I abandoned stories that were not catchy at the beginning and looked for another interesting one depending on my mood. I eventually succeeded in reading all the stories in the end  and I am grateful I did.

As someone who is not a fan of the Noir theme, I may be biased in my critic of this book however, I think if some of the stories were better structured with well developed characters, it wouldn’t have mattered whether I like the genre or not.

I am rating this book a 3 stars particularly because of my top three stories,  Joy, Heaven’s Gate and Eden, If not I would have given it a lower rating. If you like dark stories or noir themed books, then you may find this book interesting.

Published: June 2018 by Akashic Books

Pages: 224

Genre: Noir

Author: Christopher Abani (or Chris Abani) is a Nigerian author. He was a political prisoner in Nigeria at various times during 1985 and 1991. At times he was held in solitary confinement and he was held on death row for some time after being sentenced to death for treason. He is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside and the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the 2001 Prince Claus Awards, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Selections of his poetry appear in the online journal Blackbird.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Lagos Noir Edited by Chris Abani

  1. Oddly enough, sometimes I think material given 3 stars can be a better read than the 5-star equivalent but that’s probably just my mind not wanting to be constantly stimulated to such a high degree haha a nice relaxing read can be what’s best 🙂


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