A stellar debut novel from a rising star we are bound to hear more from in the future. With a killer title like that and being Nigerian you had better nail it and Onuzo definitely backs it up. Chike Ameobi is an army officer fighting the rebellion in the Niger Delta but when he is asked to kill innocent civilians he and one of his platoon members decide to desert. No sooner than they escape the war zone Chike finds himself becoming the de-facto leader of a new rag tag crew of runaways looking for a fresh start in Lagos. The city comes alive in Onuzo’s deft hands and the result is a tale that will stay with you for some time.— From Cody's 2018 Picks
May 2018 Indie Next List
“A disparate and electric ensemble cast - sad, hopeful, honorable, conniving, quixotic, and just plain wacky - drive Chibundu Onuzo's remarkable debut, but it's the character of Nigeria itself - the air and soil of its countryside and the high-voltage freneticism of its largest city - that so often shines through, undeniably alive. Equally madcap, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Welcome to Lagos unflinchingly and beautifully captures the ambitions and contradictions of a nation on the brink.”
— Sam Kaas, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“Welcome to Lagos dips its toes into many pools: it kicks off in a warzone, roams the bewildering tangle of Lagos, and incorporates elements of crime fiction, cultural reportage, and even buddy-film camaraderie. The author pulls it all off with deft humor and sharp observations, bringing one of the world’s great conurbations into focus.”
— Ryan Murphy, Three Lives & Co., New York, NY
An Official Belletrist Book Pick
Selected to Best of Summer Reading Lists by Parade, Elle, NYLON, PopSugar, The Millions, PureWow, Women.com, Hearst Media, Bitch Media, Read it Forward "Storylines and twists abound. But action is secondary to atmosphere: Onuzo excels at evoking a stratified city, where society weddings feature 'ice sculptures as cold as the unmarried belles' and thugs write tidy receipts for kickbacks extorted from homeless travelers." --The New Yorker
When 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 scandal 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 is Fineboy, a fighter with a rebel group, desperate to pursue his dream of becoming a radio DJ; Isoken, a 16-year-old girl whose father is thought to have been killed by rebels; and the beautiful Oma, escaping a wealthy, abusive husband.
Full of humor and heart, Welcome to Lagos is a high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption. It offers a provocative portrait of contemporary Nigeria that marks the arrival in the United States of an extraordinary young writer.
About the Author
Chibundu Onuzo was born in 1991 in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied history at King's College London and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in history at the same institution. Her short stories have been commissioned by BBC Radio, and she writes for The Guardian, with a special interest in Nigeria.