Fine Boys: A Novel (Modern African Writing Series) (Paperback)
A coming-of-age tale told from the perspective of Nigeria’s Generation X, caught amid the throes of a nascent pro-democracy movement, demoralizing corruption, and campus violence.
Ewaen is a Nigerian teenager, bored at home in Warri and eager to flee from his parents’ unhappy marriage and incessant quarreling. When Ewaen is admitted to the University of Benin, he makes new friends who, like him, are excited about their newfound independence. They hang out in parking lots, trading gibes in pidgin and English and discovering the pleasures that freedom affords them. But when university strikes begin and ruthlessly violent confraternities unleash mayhem on their campus, Ewaen and his new friends must learn to adapt—or risk becoming the confras' next unwilling recruits.
In his trademark witty, colloquial style, critically acclaimed author Eghosa Imasuen presents everyday Nigerian life against the backdrop of the pro-democracy riots of the 1980s and 1990s, the lost hopes of June 12 (Nigeria’s Democracy Day), and the terror of the Abacha years. Fine Boys is a chronicle of time, not just in Nigeria, but also for its budding post-Biafran generation.
About the Author
Eghosa Imasuen is the cofounder of Narrative Landscape Press, a publishing company based in Lagos. He studied medicine at the University of Benin and lives in Lagos with his wife and twin sons.
“Fine Boys is the first African novel I know that takes us into the world of the children of IMF: those post–Berlin wall Africans, like myself, who came of age in the days of the Conditionalities, those imposed tools and policies that made our countries feral; the days that turned good people into beasts, the days that witnessed the great implosion and scattering of the middle classes of a whole continent. Fine Boys takes us deep into the lives of the notorious gangs that took over universities all over Nigeria in the 1990s and early this century. We saw our universities collapse, and we struggled to educate ourselves through very harsh times. It is a beautifully written novel, heartfelt, deeply knowledgeable, funny, a love story, a tragedy; an important book, a book of our times; a book for all Africans everywhere.”—Binyavanga Wainaina, author of One Day I Will Write about This Place: A Memoir
“In Fine Boys, Imasuen writes fearlessly and beautifully of friendship, love, loss, and betrayal. It is thought-provoking, perfectly paced, uniformly delightful, compassionate, full of humor, but also heartbreaking. Eghosa Imasuen has remarkable gifts.”—Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters Street
“Eghosa Imasuen has written the biography of our generation (and this, I suspect, was his intention all along). Writing in glorious, vivid HD (and even complete with the nostalgic soundtrack of the time), he has exposed the foibles of a generation which, arguably, is one of the most scarred in postwar Nigeria. A generation which lost years of academic life to strikes…. A generation that remained blind to the irony of bravely protesting against the tyranny of military dictatorship while having no compunction about doing mindless violence to members of rival confras. A generation which cursed corrupt leaders and elders but cheated in exams. A generation which, incredibly, deludes itself still that it is better, nobler, than the rest. Fine Boys is not just our story—it’s our ode, diatribe, lamentation, and our what-the-hell-happened-to-us.”—Chimeka Garricks, author of Tomorrow Died Yesterday
"Eghosa Imasuen reaffirms his position as a talented and gifted storyteller. The prose transitions effortlessly, telling a story about friendship, family, and the Nigeria of the eighties and nineties. A definite must-read.—Jude Dibia, author of Blackbird and Unbridled
“Eghosa Imasuen’s Fine Boys brilliantly re-creates early to mid-1990s Nigeria, one of the darkest periods in the history of a country not unfamiliar with dark ages. Just as in his (debut) alternate history novel, To Saint Patrick, Imasuen’s obsession with the finer details of Nigerian history shines through. He skillfully deploys a subtle comic tone to suck the reader into a Hobbesian campus world, where staying alive, not studying, is the university student’s ultimate ambition. Fine Boys is a gritty, sad, funny, this-house-has-fallen, stay-with-you-long-past-the-final-page novel.”—Tolu Ogunlesi, journalist and author of Listen to the Geckos Singing from a Balcony and Conquest & Conviviality