The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa by Stephen Buoro

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Longlisted for the 2024 Aspen Words Literary Prize
Named a Best of the Year Book by NPR

Crackling with energy and intelligence, this debut is the "smart, subversive, funny, heartbreaking" (Kamila Shamsie) story of an exceptional teenager coming of age in the shadow of colonialism and communal violence in Nigeria.

Andrew Aziza is an unusually smart fifteen-year-old in Kontagora, Nigeria. He lives with his fiercely protective mother, Gloria, and fantasizes obsessively about white girls-especially blondes. When he's not in church, at school, or hanging about town with his droogs wishing to become one of “Africa's first superheroes,” he's contemplating the larger questions with his teacher Zahrah and his equally brilliant friend Fatima, a Hausa-Fulani girl who has feelings for him. Together they discuss mathematical theorems, Black power, and what Andy has deemed the Curse of Africa.

Sure enough, the reluctantly nicknamed Andy Africa soon falls hopelessly and inappropriately in love with the first white girl he lays eyes on: Eileen. But at the church party held to celebrate her arrival, multiple crises loom. An unfamiliar man there claims, despite his mother's denials, to be Andy's father, and an anti-Christian mob has gathered, headed for the church. In the ensuing havoc and its aftermath, Andy is forced to reckon with his identity and desires and determine how to live on the so-called Cursed Continent.

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa announces a dazzlingly unique literary voice. Crackling with energy, this tragicomic novel provides a stunning lens into contemporary African life, the complicity of the West, and the impossible challenges of growing up in a turbulent world.