From a two-time Caine Prize finalist and Nigerian novelist, an exceptional coming-of-age story about a Muslim boy in remote Nigeria and an intimate look at the way young men seek purpose in a world ripped apart by political and religious violence
Born on a Tuesday
978-0-8021-2482-1 • $16.00 • Paperback • May 2016
“Working in the tradition of Achebe, Elnathan John has penned a coming-of-age novel worthy of Twain. At times tragic, at times humorous, Born on a Tuesday is the story of those who find the courage to transcend violence even when born to its confines.”Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue
Trained as a lawyer and coming to prominence as a cultural commentator and satirist, Elnathan John is a dynamic young voice from Nigeria. Born on a Tuesday is his stirring, starkly rendered first novel, about an intelligent young boy struggling to find his place in a society that is fracturing along extreme religious and political lines.
In the far reaches of northwestern Nigeria, Dantala lives among a gang of street boys who sleep under a kuka tree. During the election, the boys are paid by the Small Party to cause trouble. When their attempt to burn down the opposition’s local headquarters ends in disaster, Dantala must run for his life, leaving his best friend behind. He makes his way to a mosque that provides him with food, shelter, and guidance. With his quick aptitude and modest nature, Dantala becomes a favored apprentice to the mosque’s benevolent sheikh. But before long, he is faced with a terrible conflict of loyalties. His mother is dying back in his native village, his brothers have joined a rival sect, and one of the sheikh’s closest advisers begins to raise his own radical movement. As bloodshed erupts in the city around him, Dantala must decide what kind of Muslimand what kind of manhe wants to be.
Told in Dantala’s naive, searching voice, this astonishing debut explores the ways in which young men are seduced by religious fundamentalism and violence, and how friendship can prove to be the strongest bond of all.