Graceland is a cultural novel written by Chris Abani and published on January 26, 2005. Chris Abani is a Nigerian American writer. Most of his work is known for addressing political and cultural issues in his home country, Nigeria. He got imprisoned several times for doing anti-government actions, the last imprisonment was a death sentence. However, he was saved and he moved to the United Kingdom and then to America where he lives there now.
Graceland is set in a Nigerian poor district in Lagos, and the main character is called Elvis. Elvis tries to escape the ghetto and change his lifestyle to a better, richer one. He lives in a dreadful condition with his poor family. The story shifts the time of the novel from 1972 to 1981 and from 1983 until recently. The two different timings portray the village before poverty and after the family's circumstances became better. However, Elvis finds illegal ways to try to make his life better for his family.
The novel is based on the actual life of Abani, where he tries to address the poverty and poor conditions some areas in Nigeria face. The novel also addresses the illegal ways people take when they have no other choice. Graceland received numerous reviews by many critics. It earned a 3.8 out of a 5-star rating on Goodreads. A Goodreads member wrote on the book: "This book is one of those books that, no matter how intense and devastating its content, is written so well that you just don't want it to end." Curledup site has a book review on Graceland and wrote on it: "Graceland might be a coming-of-age novel, but it is also a novel saturated with political imagery and messages. All through its pages, the specter of an inhuman dictatorship looms large, personified by the cruel Colonel who routinely terrorizes every neighborhood and clamps down on every mode of free speech."