The Virgin of Flames
By Chris Abani
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143038771, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 30, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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From the author of the award-winning GraceLand comes a searing, dazzlingly written novel of a tarnished City of Angels
Praised as singular (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and extraordinary (The New York Times Book Review), GraceLand stunned critics and instantly established Chris Abani as an exciting new voice in fiction. In his second novel, set against the uncompromising landscape of East L.A., Abani follows a struggling artist named Black, whose life and friendships reveal a world far removed from the mainstream. Through Blacks journey of self- discovery, Abani raises essential questions about poverty, religion, and ethnicity in America today. The Virgin of Flames, a marvelous and gritty novel filled with indelible images and unforgettable characters, confirms Chris Abani as an immensely talented writer.
Chris Abani, author of GraceLand and Becoming Abigail, was born in Nigeria and has lived in London, New York, and Los Angeles. He is currently an associate professor at the University of California, Riverside.
Abani [is] a fluid, closely observant writer. (The Washington Post)
Abanis intensely visual styleand his sense of humorconvert the stuff of hopelessness into the stuff of hope. (San Francisco Chronicle)
GraceLand amply demonstrates that Abani has the energy, ambition and compassion to create a novel that delineates and illuminates a complicated, dynamic, deeply fractured society. (Los Angeles Times)
Abani . . . has written an exhilarating novel, all the more astonishing for its hard-won grace and, yes, redemption. (The Village Voice)
In depicting how deeply external politics can affect internal thinking, GraceLand announces itself as a worthy heir to Chinua Achebes Things Fall Apart. Like that classic of Nigerian literature, it gives a multifaceted, human face to a culture struggling to find its own identity while living with somebody elses. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)