"In the introduction to this excellent anthology, Abani welcomes readers to Lagos, Nigeria, a city of more than 21 million and an amazing amalgam of wealth, poverty, corruption, humor, bravery, and tragedy. Abani and a dozen other contributors tell stories that are both unique to Lagos and universal in their humanity...This entry stands as one of the strongest recent additions to Akashic's popular noir series."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred review, pick of the week for June 4
"Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria, with a population of 21 million, has, like many coastal cities, a 'very checkered and noir past,' writes novelist Chris Abani in his introduction to this anthology."
"The beauty of this book, which contains 13 stories from Nigerian writers, is that it serves as a travelogue, too."
--Bloomberg, included in "The Darkest Summer Reading List for Those Bright, Beachy Days"
"Through his prolific and varied writings, Nigerian-born Chris Abani has shared stories that open one's knowledge of the region beyond its colonial past. The recent release of Lagos Noir highlights West African authors as meticulously edited by Abani, one of the country's best-known authors."
"This year among a number of standout anthologies, Lagos Noir was a cut above, in part because the city itself is so alive, so sure of itself and its place in the world, a proper megacity for the twenty-first century, and in part because the city is host to such a vibrant literary scene, which editor Chris Abani tapped to great effect. With writers like Igoni Barrett, Leye Adenle, and E.C. Osondu contributing, Lagos Noir offers wildly different perspectives on both the city itself and the state of noir fiction. This book is almost like a world in itself, one that you'll want to dive back into and get lost in again and again."
--CrimeReads, One of the 10 Best Crime Anthologies of 2018
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city. Now, West Africa enters the Noir Series arena, meticulously edited by one of Nigeria's best-known authors.
Brand-new stories by: Chris Abani, Nnedi Okorafor, E.C. Osondu, Jude Dibia, Chika Unigwe, A. Igoni Barrett, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Adebola Rayo, Onyinye Ihezukwu, Uche Okonkwo, Wale Lawal, 'Pemi Aguda, and Leye Adenle.
From the introduction by Chris Abani:
Lagos has, like many coastal cities, a very checkered and noir past. It is the largest city in Nigeria and its former capital. It is also the largest megacity on the African continent, with a population approximating twenty-one million, and by itself is the fourth-largest economy in Africa...It is rumored that there are more canals in Lagos than in Venice. Except in Lagos they are often unintentional. Gutters that have become waterways and lagoons fenced in by stilt homes or full of logs for a timber industry most of us don't know exists. All of it skated by canoes as slick as any dragonfly. There are currently no moonlight or other gondola rides available... The thirteen stories that comprise this volume stretch the boundaries of "noir" fiction, but each one of them fully captures the essence of noir, the unsettled darkness that continues to lurk in the city's streets, alleys, and waterways...Together, these stories create an unchartered path through the center of Lagos and out to its peripheries, revealing so much more truth at the heart of this tremendous city than any guidebook, TV show, film, or book you are likely to find.
The thirteen stories that comprise this volume stretch the boundaries of "noir" fiction, but each one of them fully captures the essence of noir, the unsettled darkness that continues to lurk in the city's streets, alleys, and waterways...Together, these stories create an unchartered path through the center of Lagos and out to its peripheries, revealing so much more truth at the heart of this tremendous city than any guidebook, TV show, film, or book you are likely to find.
Table of Contents
PART I: COPS & ROBBERS
What They Did That Night by Jude Dibia (Lagos Island)
Heaven’s Gate by Chika Unigwe (Ojo)
Showlogo by Nnedi Okorafor (Ajegunle)
Just Ignore and Try to Endure by A. Igoni Barrett (Egbeda)
PART II: IN A FAMILY WAY
The Swimming Pool by Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Victoria Island)
What Are You Going To Do? by Adebola Rayo (Onikan)
For Baby, For Three by Onyinye Ihezukwu (Yaba)
Eden by Uche Okonkwo (Obalende)
Joy by Wale Lawal (Surulere)
PART III: ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES
Choir Boy by 'Pemi Aguda (Berger)
The Walking Stick by E.C. Osondu (Agege)
Uncle Sam by Leye Adenle (Murtala Muhammed International Airport)
Killer Ape by Chris Abani (Ikoyi)
"Covering one of the widest spectrums of genre-inspired stories, Chris Abani is as masterful as he is meticulous in his assembly of noir...Lagos Noir is a colorful and harrowing vision preserving the distinct voice of each contributor contained within its pages. The collection carries a moving and self-contained quality while simultaneously sparking hope that the Noir series will eventually forge its way into further explorations of Africa."
--World Literature Today
"There is...greed, innocence, ambition, and all the trappings that make crime stories so engaging. The Lagos angle is as educating and eye-opening as it is engaging, quickly encouraging the reader to side with any protagonist, no matter how shady, because they're still better than the corruption all around them. Well, most of the time."
--Manhattan Book Review
"This volume is a must, as it introduces new writers of considerable talent and new works by writers you may have read and enjoyed previously...If you just like good stories about ordinary people with an extraordinary twist, this collection should not be missed."
--New York Journal of Books
"The African megalopolis of Lagos, Nigeria, makes a perfect setting for mystery stories with a noir bent...With its breadth of contributors, this latest volume in the publisher's city noir series will satisfy both the fan of contemporary African fiction and the newcomer interested in discovering some new voices."
"In June, Akashic has three of the more exciting recent installments to its wildly popular Noir city series: Santa Cruz, Lagos, and São Paulo. The Lagos volume is a standout, with Chris Abani serving as editor and tapping into the city's vibrant literary scene, but Santa Cruz and São Paulo both have plenty to be excited about, especially if you're a fan of seaside noir or Brazilian fiction. These are three vibrant, international cities with distinct cultures and social issues best explored through noir."
--CrimeReads, included in "Summer's Most Anticipated Crime, Mystery, and Thrillers"
"Many stories have been written about the continent's largest megacity Lagos, but let's be honest--you can never have enough stories about Lagos."
--OkayAfrica, included in "5 Books by African Writers You Need to Read This Summer"
"Lagos Noir, one of the Akashic's 'location noir' collections, [is] where you can meet thirteen excellent Nigerian writers who've turned their pens to crime writing. Edited by well-known writer Chris Abani, the stories run the gamut from atmospheric pieces with a vicious twist in the tail, through mini-thrillers, to unusual police procedurals. Read it to discover a Nigerian perspective and be rewarded with some stunning writing and insights."
--CrimeReads, included in A Beginner's Guide to African Crime Fiction
"The stories run the gamut from atmospheric pieces with a vicious twist in the tail, through to mini thrillers and some unusual police procedurals. All are set in Lagos, and although the sense of place is strong across the collection, the authors' styles are quite different. It's one of the most interesting collections I've read in the genre."
--The Big Thrill
"Any reader that has actually lived in Lagos will definitely nod in agreement to certain stories that describe their Lagos experience."
"I have never been to Lagos, Nigeria, but it didn't take long before I was immersed in the sounds and smells of the city. The stories in Lagos Noir might deal with the dark side of the city, but even stories about crooked cops or suspicious landlords can't disguise how enamored the writers are with the city--and it's likely that readers soon will be, too."
"Each story is skillfully chosen and placed in the anthology. I highly recommend this addition to the Akashic series."
--The CyberLibrarian (blog)
"The collection of 13 stories Abani has put together brings Lagos, largest city and former capital of Nigeria and one of the largest cities in Africa, to life...This may not be the book the Nigerian tourist industry wants you to read as an inducement to come visit their country, but it sure is a lot of fun to read. Each of the writers brings their own little piece of Lagos to life with such vividness you can almost hear the rats stirring in the garbage and feel the layers of humidity and heat weighing on your skin."
"This anthology stands out because of its unique approach to crime and punishment, and its intense focus on the sociological aspects of crime in one of the world's largest, fastest growing and most complex regions. Lagos Noir is a must-read for crime lovers looking for something different to read in a highly saturated market."