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Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria Paperback – 5 Jan 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847080308
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847080301
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Noo Saro-Wiwa was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and raised in England. She attended King's College London and Columbia University in New York.

Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria (Granta, 2012) is her first book. It was selected as BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in 2012, and was named The Sunday Times Travel Book of the Year, 2012. Shortlisted for the Author's Club Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award in 2013, Looking for Transwonderland was also nominated by The Financial Times as one of the best travel books of 2012. The Guardian newspaper included it among its 10 Best Contemporary Books on Africa in 2012.
It has been translated into French and will be published in Italian in 2015.

Noo has previously written travel guides for Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. She supports Liverpool FC and is based in the UK.

Product Description

Review

'A compelling account of how feels to be a Nigerian today' --Financial Times

'Humorous and affectionate ... Saro-Wiwa is fiercely honest and compassionate about a country most tourists travel miles to avoid' --Sunday Telegraph

'Remarkable ... in this deftly woven account Saro-Wiwa tells us more about Nigeria than most academics do in a lifetime' --Spectator

'This is an affectionate portrait of a loud and lively nation with infuriating potential' --Metro

'Saro-Wiwa is sharp and funny ... she brings a new perspective to Africa's most populous country'
--Prospect

'Saro-Wiwa offers a bright and honest account of Nigeria.
Her vivid portraits of Nigerian life are intelligent and often very witty' --Traveller magazine

'Saro-Wiwa is an engagingly smart travel companion ... the complex world of Nigeria comes alive in her company'
--New Humanist

'An affectionate and irreverent guide that peels away many of the clichés that envelop Nigeria'
--Observer

About the Author

NOO SARO-WIWA was born in Nigeria in 1976 and raised in England. She attended King's College London and Columbia University in New York and has written travel guides for Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. She currently lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Law on 21 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have visited Nigeria several times. It is a baffling place. The great question has always been, how does a country, so inherently wealthy, serve its population so badly? When I enquired as to travelling internally in Nigeria, (for example to the plateau of Jos), my Nigerian friends strongly counselled against it. This book describes a journey many Nigerians would like to undertake, but most would hesitate to do, mainly for personal safety issues. Highway robberies, lack of hygiene, corrupt police etc.. The Anglicised Nigerian author illuminates not only the physical topography of the land, but also unravels some reasons as to why the country is as it is. A very good read, and well off the beaten track. I really do recommend.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tikksy T on 18 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. As someone who also was brought up outside my country of birth and forced to visit as a child, the author's journey around Nigeria really resonated with me. I loved learning about Nigeria, seen through her eyes. I came away feeling the love the author has for her roots, yet the frustration she and many others feel about the ineffectual military and civilian governments Nigeria has had since independence. The star of the journey really was Nigeria and its people, I'd love to visit one day!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Stephen on 12 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, first hearing a couple of the serial readings on Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4).

Noo Saro-Wiwa's visually wealthy account of her tour round her land of birth is honest, humane and often very funny, the scenery changing so as to keep it fresh. She made some profound and moving observations that tempt me already to reread the book and unfortunately I was unable to highlight these gems as I couldn't work out how to do it on my new Kindle (basic). I kiss my teeth at myself for that.

The brief pedagogic moments of Nigerian history, especially the mark her father made in that nation and on his own family sit very well with the backdrops of the chaos of Lagos, the dust of the north, the humid forests and crummy hotels.

She writes beautifully and with an economy (ie no verbosity) that for me was welcome as too often these days many writers over "wordsmith" what they have to communicate, their skill coming before the tale. Horses for courses though, some like that intellectual exercise.

With her mixed feelings and alternating optimism and pessimism for Nigeria becoming increasingly nuanced as her travels progressed, she did develop her dream of an economic future for Nigeria which I found immensely intelligent. She should be an economist really.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Essbee on 9 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this as it was on special offer and a very good buy. I had heard of the authors father but knew nothing about the family at all. I was not disappointed, the book is riveting. I am so glad the book goes beyond the surface, so many people get completely sidetracked by the topic of corruption and fail to see anything else. The author succeeds in capturing much of the humour and warmth of Nigerian people and writes with wit and honesty. She does share her frustrations and fears and I think the book is better for their inclusion. No book can capture the reality of a whole nation and its people but I think she does offer a snapshot and gives an insight into the experience of homecoming for an expatriate.

All in all an excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dmf9436 on 22 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading this wonderful book. Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray that 'Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter'. In the best travel writing we get a portrait of the subject and a portrait of the author and this book delivers both with honesty and in a brilliant writing style which slips easily from powerful and evocative description to knock about comedy to introspective reflection. It is always compelling and never pretentious. I have visited Nigeria a few times but have always been protected by a bubble-wrap of corporate security, unable to engage properly, in the way that the author has, with this exciting and dynamic society. The unusual perspective of a Nigerian raised in the UK gives us an inside and an outside view of this country through the lens of the author's engaging personality. Our and her own prejudices are put under the microscope and ruthlessly examined.

The first thing I started to do when I put the book down was to start planning a trip to see the vast expanse of Nigeria that isn't Hilton Hotels and limousines. The author is very open about her country's short-comings and doesn't attempt to hide the frightening and sinister side of Nigeria's corruption, violence and inequality. But if anything this serves to highlight the raw beauty of this country and the charm of its many peoples and sadly the fatalistic attitude of the population at large that has perhaps prevented Nigeria from using its many human and natural resources to become a happier and more settled place. In any case I thoroughly recommend this inspiring and often funny book which is one of the best examples of travel writing I have read in a long time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Johnson on 3 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book after listening to some of the episodes on Radio 4. It will make you laugh & make you cry. If you have lived in Nigeria you will absolutely identify with a lot of Noo's witty & insightful observations. This book was written with love & honesty & always finding gems in unexpected places. I didn't want the book to end.
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