- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Pintail; 7/28/13 edition (2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143188720
- ISBN-13: 978-0143188728
- Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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419 Paperback – 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
419 takes us in a completely different direction....
We've all received them. In fact Barrister Salvadore Gallarto sent me one this morning. Can I help him with repatriating 8.5 million euros? It's a simple matter really. I'm sure that every reader has had one of these land in our inbox. And we promptly trash them. But what if you didn't?
Laura Curtis is heartbroken when her elderly father Henry is killed in an auto accident. But on further investigation, it appears he deliberately left the road. Why would he do such a thing? Further digging by the local Calgary police on his computer uncovers the truth - he had become embroiled in a 419 scam...."I can help...." (419 is the Nigerian criminal code for "obtaining money or goods under false pretenses.)
On the other side of the world in Nigeria, we follow the story of Winston - a 419 scammer. And Amina - a young pregnant woman walking her way across the country, escaping from something. And Nnamdi, a young man from the depths of the Niger Delta.
In the beginning, I wondered how these disparate stories would tie together, but Ferguson deftly weaves an absolutely riveting plot. The criminal underbelly of Nigeria is presented in all of it's seediness. But really, it is the story of Nnamdi that captured me the most. His story is given the most page space and he is the character I felt I 'knew' the most. The effect of the oil industry on a country and its' people is disheartening. The death of her father changes Laura as well.Read more ›
The father of Ferguson's protagonist becomes entangled in an email scam, and in the aftermath she leaves the sterility of her life, a small apartment over an enclosed mall in a large city in Alberta, and heads out into the messy world, almost without feeling, for a purpose that isn't truly revealed until the closing pages.
Ferguson's descriptions are lush and vivid, and range from the cold of Alberta to the dank mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta. He clearly has done his homework, populating his narrative with cultural and historical references that make his story come to life.
And he raises questions for which there are no easy answers: about the nature of revenge. About the basic injustice of life, with some condemned to a medieval existence in the slums of Lagos, while others live in air conditioned comfort. About the global oil industry, and its impact on the environment and on governments. About whether thugs shaking down a tanker truck full of stolen oil on a Nigerian highway can be compared to tax collectors. About whether "turnabout is fair play" - with email scammers taking back that which was taken during the age of slave trading. And most disturbing of all, about whether places like Lagos - steeped in misery, corruption, disease and crime - represent the future. And yet, despite the grimness, Ferguson's book leaves us with hope, that the goodness of humanity might persevere through adversity.
Exotic locations, thoughtful questions without easy answers and excellent writing add up to a good read for those who like their novels to serve as more than simply light entertainment.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good story line that takes you into the rampant scams out of Africa.Published 6 days ago by Lori A. Smith
419 was an exceptional book that I would recommend anyone to read. It is narrated by many different people whose lives somehow intertwine in the most fascinating way. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RSS Chicago
I'm not one to read a book such as this, but am so glad I did. I was completely taken into the story having received many such e-mails asking for money. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Shadrach
It was interesting to know about Nigeria.
But the characters were not deep. It is difficult to the reader to understand their feelings and motivations
I really enjoyed this look at the email scams we have the potential of encountering every day. Unfortunately due to illness, we did not get a chance to discuss it at our Book Club... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Katie
Fascinating book. Eye opener as to how the big oil companies operate in parts of the world. Had no idea what a 419 was before reading this book. Who knew?Published 11 months ago by Marcia Remington