Taduno's Song (Paperback)

A Novel

By Odafe Atogun

Vintage, 9781101972984, 240pp.

Publication Date: February 20, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (3/6/2017)
Hardcover (3/7/2017)
Paperback (8/4/2016)
Paperback (9/5/2017)

List Price: 17.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A stunning debut from a new voice in Nigerian literature: a mesmerizing, Kafkaesque narrative, informed by the life of musical superstar Fela Kuti.

The day a stained brown envelope arrives from Lagos, the exiled musician Taduno knows that the time has come to return home. Arriving back in Nigeria full of hope, he soon discovers that his people no longer recognize or remember him or his music, and that his girlfriend, Lela, has disappeared, abducted by government agents. As Taduno unravels the mystery of his lost life and searches for his lost love, he must face a difficult decision: to fight for Lela or for his people. A stunning work of fiction, Taduno’s Song is a heartfelt, deeply affecting tale of love, sacrifice, and courage.

About the Author

Odafe Atogun was born in Nigeria, in the town of Lokoja, where the Niger and Benue rivers meet. He studied journalism at the Times Journalism Institute in Lagos and is now a fulltime writer. He is married and lives in Abuja.

Praise For Taduno's Song: A Novel

“Burning with magic and loss, exile and return, beauty and heartache . . . A colossal epic disguised as a small novel.” —Marlon James, author of the Man Booker Prize-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings

“A powerful, lingering fable. . . . Atogun presents us with a dreamlike vision of Nigeria chained to its past.” —Financial Times

“Entrancingly and exquisitely composed. . . . A poetic and delightful narrative about one musician and his struggle to be true to his people, his love and ultimately himself. . . . One of those stories that can only truthfully be classified as pure magic.” —Counterpunch
“The power of music to stir memory and move the hardest heart permeates Taduno’s Song. . . . I urge people to read this unforgettable new voice, writing in polished, gleaming prose about how it feels to be silenced.” —Anita Sethi, The Observer

“Uniting a retelling of the Orpheus myth, an indictment of totalitarian inhumanity, and a Kafkaesque meditation on identity within the spare language of fable, Atogun’s memorable debut novel testifies to the power of both oppression and art. . . . Atogan’s allegory, at once bleak and hopeful . . . speak[s] clearly and powerfully.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“A rich, multilayered work, exploring lessons of freedom, self-worth, forgiveness and faithfulness.” —The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)
“Thoughtful readers will be enthralled. . . . Atogun’s simple, direct prose is the perfect vehicle for the complex questions he poses.” —Library Journal
“This quiet novel is an original. It is as if the writer, Mr. Atogun, has plunged into the depth [of] the sea of Nigeria’s history and returned with a leviathan, and has invited us to see—and be amused, troubled, scared, and even angry. And we can not help but look” —Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fishermen
“Atogun is not without Kafka’s often humane and comic touches. Like Orwell, Atogun excels in plain language, in reducing situations to their bare essentials. Yet the author resists reducing his characters to mere political symbols. They are compelling as people in their own right. . . . [Taduno’s Song] is likely to become a small classic of protest literature.” —BookPage
“A must-read. . . . [Atogun’s] writing is reminiscent of Coetzee’s South African dystopian novels like Waiting for the Barbarians, with more than a touch of magical realism.” —LitHub
“The story has universal appeal as it broadens from Kafkaesque allegory to broader satire, the writing assured and controlled.” —Kirkus Reviews