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Born on a Tuesday: A Novel by [John, Elnathan]
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Born on a Tuesday: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

After leaving his Koranic training, Dantala is sidetracked and lives on the streets with friends who provide him with "wee-wee" (marijuana). But when his world erupts in violence, Dantala takes shelter in a mosque. The imam, Sheikh Jamal, informally adopts him, and Dantala spends years working with his mentor, learning English, calling prayers, and becoming his official assistant. Northern Nigeria is a violent place—different factions of Islam are at war with one another, and the only constancy is political corruption and savagery. Dantala's naive, sincere teen voice will ring true with young adults, especially as he falls in love and confronts the death of loved ones. Ultimately, this novel, based on the author's award-winning short story, "Bayan Layi," is about the terrors of war and the children who suffer. Dantala may wander down the wrong path, but his religious faith serves as his guide when all hope is lost. Fundamentalism is the antagonist here, and Nigerian author John's beautiful, literary coming-of-age debut will resonate with readers; teens will also come away with a strong understanding of Nigeria and Islam. Pair with Alex Award winner Ishmael Baeh's child soldier memoir A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier for a discussion about choices and redemption. VERDICT A rich and nuanced work for school libraries needing quality contemporary fiction.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL


Praise for Born on a Tuesday:

A Finalist for the Nigeria Prize for Literature
An Indies Introduce selection
An Amazon Best Book of the Month in literature & fiction

Longlisted for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature

“[John] has produced a thoughtful, nuanced first novel, employing a style that is as unadorned as it is unflinching . . . His restraint in handling difficult material is just one of his many gifts . . . Born on a Tuesday brings home the reality of what is happening in northern Nigeria with a power the news reports of Boko Haram’s atrocities can’t adequately project. Elnathan John is a writer to watch.”—Fiammetta Rocco, New York Times Book Review

“A nuanced first novel illuminates the rise of radical Islam in northern Nigeria.”New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

“[An] impressive debut . . . I was carried along by the endearing voice of the young, sensitive narrator, his instinctive goodness and intelligence in making sense and finding beauty in the brutality, poverty, and oppression surrounding him. The novel manages to pull off two aims at the same time―giving the reader a sophisticated understanding of contemporary Nigerian politics and the pleasure of a tender and classy coming of age story.”―Leila Aboulela, Millions, A Year in Reading

“Elnathan John’s first novel is an ambitious book that tackles modern Nigeria’s extremely complex religious landscape with great insight, passion, and humor by taking us deep into the mental and emotional space of the country's most neglected.”—Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation

“With brave, unflinching candor expressed through spare, unadorned prose, Elnathan John considers the rise of Islamic extremism in Nigeria as experienced by one young man. Anyone seeking to peer beyond the media's portrayals of Boko Haram must read this book, not because it offers a hopeful account but because it offers a human one.”—Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go

“[An] insightful debut novel about religious extremism in Nigeria . . . John writes with an understated elegance and we discover humour and wisdom in the most unexpected of places.”Guardian (UK)

“A Nigerian bildungsroman featuring Dantala, a street kid thrust calamitously into the arms of a gentle sheikh, who thereafter faces Islamic extremism and the cruelty of his own country.”O, The Oprah Magazine, “10 Titles to Pick Up Now”

“Elnathan John’s beautifully written novel is a moving and deeply felt debut from a writer of prodigious talent.”—Petina Gappah, author of The Book of Memory

“This debut novel by a Nigerian author couldn’t be more timely, or powerful.”Newsday

“This sweeping debut novel by Caine Prize–finalist John is poignant and compelling . . . Told through a blend of first-person narration and diary pages, John skillfully employs Dantala’s probing voice to pose crucial questions and explore collisions between modernity and tradition, Arabic and English, rhetoric and action . . . John has written a stunning, important coming-of-age story.”Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)

“A Nigerian boy struggles to survive in a violent, disintegrating world. Like the most famous coming-of-age-in-hell story of all, Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, Nigerian lawyer and political commentator John's debut novel makes an old nightmare new by placing a bright, articulate, curious, and endearing young narrator in the midst of it . . . An action-packed, heartbreaking, and eye-opening debut from a great new talent.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Elnathan John’s debut coming of age novel is a striking and unnervingly assured depiction of a complex and tumultuous world. John’s writing is controlled and lucid, full of compassion yet fiercely unerring.”—Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

“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

“Nigerian lit is experiencing a renaissance right now, with a young generation of writers leading the way. Names like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chigozie Obioma, and Chinelo Okparanta are critically acclaimed . . . Presenting a wide spectrum of religious interpretation and adherence, John’s portrayal of northwestern Nigeria is both subtle and precise. Add Elnathan John to that list.”Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“Nigerian author John’s story is an absorbing and sometimes disquieting look inside the contemporary Muslim world.”Booklist

Born on a Tuesday . . . is an engagement with one of the most vexing questions of this or any other time: Why is religion a source of moral guidance and understanding for billions of people, and also the impetus for ISIS-type acts of violence? . . . His story of a young Muslim man witnessing the rise of jihadism in northern Nigeria is an honest reckoning with the problem, and one with implications beyond its particular setting and religious context.”Tablet

“Wrenching . . . this is one heck of a debut novel, and we are confident you will be moved.”—Bookish, “Spring 2016 Fiction Preview”

“Mesmerizing . . . [Dantala’s] journey from a lost boy to a position of remarkable authority in his mosque in Sokoto, Nigeria is powerfully moving and rich in period-specific detail . . . Masterful.”—Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Bookshop

“Weaving everyday life, observations, religion, and politics together with a fresh, compelling voice and powerful writing, Born on a Tuesday will resonate with book clubs and readers alike.”—Rebekah Hendrian, Book Nook & Java Shop, Montague, MI

“This powerful and gut-wrenching book is an unflinching look at the brutality wrought on the life of innocents by those vying for even small amounts of power.”—Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, PA

“This isn’t an easy book to read but it is a book that must be read and it hasn’t been since Chris Cleave’s Little Bee that I have felt so raw, eyes opened and uncomfortable with the truth staring me straight in the eyes from a novel. While this may be a work of fiction, it is happening now and feels so real and such an important and vital piece of writing of stories that need to be heard.”—Jessica Sweedler DeHart, BookPeople of Moscow, Idaho

“I was completely pulled into Dantala’s world . . . How easy it is for those of us from a stable country to judge young men from other nations who are lured into following leaders simply for the promise of a full belly!”—Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

“A fast paced, compelling, heart wrenching yet humorous read . . . Born on a Tuesday brings together a great plot, descriptive prose and humour while also exposing the reader to a harrowing reality of people in a part of the world whose voices we barely hear . . . Pure brilliance.”—Media Diversified (UK), “Top 12 books by novelists of color published in 2015”

Product details

  • File Size: 1730 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat (May 3, 2016)
  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,769 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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