City of Stories: The Lagos Imaginary in Chris Abani’s GraceLand (2004) and Sefi Atta’s Swallow (2010)

  • Maximilian Feldner
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


Depictions of the megacity of Lagos form a central part of the Nigerian imaginary. As an increasing body of fictional literature deals with contemporary Nigerian urbanity, a coherent literary image of the city begins to emerge. This chapter outlines common elements of the Lagos narrative as they can be found in two prototypical Lagos novels, Chris Abani’s GraceLand (2004) and Sefi Atta’s Swallow (2010). These novels, set in Lagos in 1983 and 1985, respectively, capture the city’s traffic situation, the overwhelming assault on the senses, and the characters’ strategies of survival as they are faced with the impossibility of living there.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maximilian Feldner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GrazGrazAustria

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