VAGABONDS! is a tumultuous and unexpectedly joyous novel of oppression and defiance among the people and spirits of Lagos.
‘You don’t read this novel. You swan dive into it, then gasp in wonder’ Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings
‘Spectacular’ Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater
‘This novel astounded me’ Dantiel W. Moniz, author of Milk Blood Heat
Lagos is a city for all . . . you share this place with flesh and not-flesh, and it’s just as much their city as it is yours.
Èkó, the spirit of Lagos, and his loyal minion Tatafo weave trouble through the streets of Lagos and through the lives of the ‘vagabonds’ powering modern Nigeria: the queer, the displaced and the footloose.
With Tatafo as our guide we meet these people in the shadows. Among them are a driver for a debauched politician; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her reality. As their lives begin to intertwine—in markets and underground clubs, in churches and hotel rooms—the vagabonds are seized and challenged by the spirits who command the city. A force is drawing them all together, but for what purpose?
In her debut novel VAGABONDS! Eloghosa Osunde tackles the insidious nature of Nigerian capitalism, corruption and oppression, and offers a defiant, joyous and inventive tribute to all those for whom life itself is a form of resistance.
‘A dazzling, hypnotic portrait of lives lived on the margins’ T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
‘Gasp-inducing… kaleidoscopic’ AnOther Magazine
‘An exceptional debut, taking on queerness, capitalism and the societal vagabonds of Lagos’ streets’ i-D
‘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
About the author
Eloghosa Osunde is a Nigerian writer and visual artist, an alumna of the Farafina Creative Writing Workshop, the Caine Prize Workshop and the filmmaking and screenwriting programmes at New York Film Academy. Her short stories have been longlisted for the 2017 Writivism Short Story Prize and published in Catapult, Guernica, Berlin Quarterly and The Paris Review where she has a column, with forthcoming stories in The Georgia Review and Gulf Coast. She is the winner of the 2021 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction
- ‘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, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings
- ‘Some of the most spectacular writing I’ve ever encountered in my life … VAGABONDS! brought me to tears because it gave me a world in which my country could be home again ‘ Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater
- ‘A feast of a book, a marvelous ode to spirits and outsiders that is irreverent (and painfully funny) while being serious enough to drill a hole in one’s chest. There is nothing in the world like this book’ Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky
- ‘Osunde’s gasp-inducing novel takes us to the Lagos streets with an ensemble of misfits and vagabonds, each with their own stories of queerness, personal demons, all-consuming love… Immerse yourself in Osunde’s kaleidoscopic world’ AnOther Magazine
- ‘Full of surprising, tender, biting language, Eloghosa Osunde’s VAGABONDS! sets a stage where gods play personal games with human lives … this novel astounded me’ Dantiel W. Moniz, author of Milk Blood Heat
- ‘A triumph. In Vagabonds! you will discover… 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, author of The Book of Joan
- ‘A dazzling, hypnotic portrait of lives lived on the margins … the binary of reality and fantasy is shattered in poetic, kaleidoscopic color. In the roots of the city of Lagos … remains an unfettered truth: there is community even – especially – for the displaced, and in the struggle of outsiders lives the most radical potential for hope’ T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls