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The Crack Magazine

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The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa by Stephen Buoro

“I’ve tried several times to understand why Father McMahon left the Real Life in England – of potatoes and sleek roads and nine degrees Celsius – for this shithole.” That’s fifteen-year-old Andrew Aziza, and “the shithole” he’s referring to is Nigeria, where he lives. Andrew spends his days hanging around with his “droogs” (friends Slim, a gay artist; and Morocca, a wannabe rapper) and fantasising about white girls, particularly blondes. When a white girl comes for an extended stay via the local Christian church, Andrew dons his best Nikes and makes his play. This is Stephen Buoro’s debut novel and it fizzes off the page. Told through Andrew’s distinctive voice, Buoro gives us a wholly original coming of age story, but also a tragicomic snapshot of modern day Nigeria in which religious violence, the infiltration of Western culture, and dreams of escape to a better life, all rub uneasily alongside each other. RM