Vagabonds!: Book summary and reviews of Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde

Vagabonds!

A Novel

by Eloghosa Osunde

Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde X
Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde
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About this book

Book Summary

In the bustling streets and cloistered homes of Lagos, a cast of vivid characters - some haunted, some defiant - navigate danger, demons, and love in a quest to lead true lives.

As in Nigeria, vagabonds are those whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the poor, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits. They are those who inhabit transient spaces, who make their paths and move invisibly, who embrace apparitions, old vengeances and alternative realities.

Eloghosa Osunde's brave, fiercely inventive novel traces a wild array of characters for whom life itself is a form of resistance: a driver for a debauched politician with the power to command life and death; a legendary fashion designer who gives birth to a grown daughter; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a wife and mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her world. As their lives intertwine—in bustling markets and underground clubs, churches and hotel rooms—vagabonds are seized and challenged by spirits who command the city's dark energy. Whether running from danger, meeting with secret lovers, finding their identities, or vanquishing their shadowselves, Osunde's characters confront and support one another, before converging for the once-in-a-lifetime gathering that gives the book its unexpectedly joyous conclusion.

Blending unvarnished realism with myth and fantasy, Vagabonds! is a vital work of imagination that takes us deep inside the hearts, minds, and bodies of a people in duress—and in triumph.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Osunde's magnificent magical realist debut crafts a mosaic of struggle and pain in Lagos held together by Tatafo, a supernatural choruslike figure who does the bidding of 'cityspirit' Eko...The gorgeous, redemptive ending pulls off a triumphant celebration of queer survival. Throughout, Osunde crafts compassionate prose and seamlessly combines magic and grit. This is a stunning introduction to a bold new writer." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A powerful debut novel about the power of love and stories to save people shunned by society for being themselves...Osunde revels in the joy of storytelling to render a city and its outsiders in all their flaws and glory." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Osunde writes like the visual artist they are, having directed and produced Tatafo, a forthcoming film based on this novel. Their vibrant style breathes life into people whom hypocritical politicians would prefer remain hidden. Ideal for readers of Akwaeke Emezi." - Library Journal

"You don't read this novel. You swan dive into its sea of gods and monsters, lost girls, violent boys, and well-behaved people both righteous and wicked. And when you finally surface, that sound will be you, gasping in wonder." - Marlon James

"Spectacular...Vagabonds! brought me to tears because it gave me a world in which my country could be home again." - Akwaeke Emezi

"A triumph of a book. In Vagabonds! you will discover queer people finding ways to love each other in a society that outlaws queerness, and an explosive portrait of Nigeria that will blow your mind—in prose that feels so alive it practically vibrates off the page. A masterpiece." - Lidia Yuknavitch

This information about Vagabonds! was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Eloghosa Osunde

Eloghosa Osunde is a Nigerian writer and artist. An alumna of the Farafina Creative Writing Workshop, the Caine Prize Workshop, and the New York Film Academy, she has been published in the Paris Review, Gulf Coast, Guernica, Catapult, and other venues. Winner of the 2021 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and the recipient of a Miles Morland Scholarship, she is a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow and a 2020 MacDowell Colony Fellow.

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