- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Head of Zeus (29 Aug. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1781855056
- ISBN-13: 978-1781855058
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.3 x 23.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
419 Hardcover – 29 Aug 2013
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'As good a novel about the world in its entirety, from Canada to Nigeria, as I've seen in years, or will likely see in years to come. It stays with you, it makes you think, and it hurts' Gary Shteyngart.
'Sharp and unpredictable, full of surprising, wonderful characters. It isn't just clever – it's spectacular' Roddy Doyle.
'An elegant literary thriller ... 419 is immersive, neatly structured and full of smart dialogue and oblique insights' Guardian.
'A very clever book ... well constructed and compelling' The Sunday Herald.
'Compelling' The Times.
'An ambitious work about the complexities of reparative justice ... elegantly written and evocative of place' The Sunday Telegraph.
'The best and most detailed account of 419 scams I have ever seen ... I can see that this would, and probably will, make a powerful, sweeping moving. And the climax is worthy of any thriller' Financial Times.
'This epic and shocking tale of international corruption and revenge bites hard' Saga.
'A taut tale of internet deception' Vogue.
A stunning literary thriller from the 2012 winner of the Giller prize that asks, how far would you go for revenge?--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
As Laura unpicks the details, sifts through the e-mails, she is horrified at what she sees. It’s never quite clear whether she mourns her father or his money, but she is definitely at grief central. And so she arrives in Lagos on a mission.
Meanwhile, we follow two stories in Nigeria. On the one hand, we have Winston, an internet scammer. Winston is articulate, personable and operates with a very warped sense of morality. He believes he has a right to take the mugus’ money.
And the third main story is Nnamdi, a fisherman’s son who has been displaced by oil workers and winds up as a back-up driver on a lorry trip up north. On the way, he meets a pregnant woman and his life is changed irrevocably.
Inevitably, the stories tie together. The plot is taught and writhes like a snake. But it is the characterisation that shines. Each character has strengths, weaknesses and flaws. The reader’s sympathies change, lighting on one character for a while until reminded of the alternative perspective, or that character’s place in the wider scheme of things.
There is a strong sense of place, too. Nigeria feels real, large and complex. It is not just a den of thieves, there are real, decent people trying to earn a living. There is wealth and there are natural resources. Lagos becomes real – has suburbs and a history.
419 is a complex, well thought out novel that leaves a deep emotional imprint. It is written with panache. There is a visible narrator engaging in little asides to the reader, teasing and tantalising. Right from the start, as Henry Curtis dies, the prospect of a satisfactory resolution is lost. Will Ferguson nevertheless pulls off a stylish ending, even if it leaves the reader feeling rather hollow.
Also, the long build-up of the the walk-about of the pregnant girl. What was her story? Why were we never told it?
The motivations and final state of mind of the suicidal father was also unanswered. A lengthy promising build-up, and then just having a trite one sentence explanation from his wife. "He just wanted to be a hero". The reader has invested a lot of time, energy and emotion into the story, and is left with crumbs.
Lastly, I would have liked the heroin's potential love story with the police officer to have been developed a little bit more. It seemed so promising, but we were left wondering.
Having said all this, the final scenes in Nigeria were RIVETING, CLEVER AND REWARDING. I would definitely read future books by this writer. I think he will be great one day.
Anyone who has ever opened an E-Mail which proves to be a plea for assistance in getting large amounts of money ahead of the authorities will recognise the theme. Laura Curtis' father had such an E-Mail and having tried to help and spent all his money, he has driven his car off a bridge. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, a pregnant young woman walks through the dust, trying to escape her family and find something that ever she doesn't know what she is looking for. In the Niger Delta, meanwhile, the oil companies are moving in and a whole way of life is changing in the fishing villages there.
It's easy to see why this is a prize winning novel from quite early on. Ferguson mixes up his stories brilliantly, flitting from the snowy accident scene of Canada to the dusty landscape of Northern Nigeria and the crowded city life in Lagos without pause. Somehow, even with such differing locations, Ferguson provides a decent picture of each one without there ever being a feeling that there is a preference. No matter which location the characters are living in, they will face a struggle of some kind.
Perhaps the real surprise was how I ended up feeling about many of the characters in the novel. No matter whether they are conman or conned, almost everyone here feels as if they are a victim in their own way.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A masterful, brilliant story that provides readers with a view of our world, one filled with the consequences of evil. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Eleanor Cowan
F A N T A S T I C!! i couldn't put it down but was forced to (to sleep work etc) i may not have understood the nigerian words (glossary would be nice) but hey, a fantastic read... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Jean Bowhay
Slightly convoluted at first, but all comes together at the end!Published on 17 Mar. 2015 by Colin Brown
Kept me absorbed on the London Undergound whilst travelling too and from work. A good read with a story that could happen to anyone.Published on 21 Dec. 2014 by Mr Ian McDonald