In the bustling streets and cloistered homes of Lagos, a cast of vivid characters—some haunted, some defiant—navigate danger, demons, and love in a quest to lead true lives.
In Nigeria, vagabonds are those whose existence is literally outlawed: the poor, the queer, the drivers and dancers, the abused and displaced and vulnerable. Eloghosa Osunde’s brave, fiercely inventive novel traces a wild array of characters for whom life itself is a form of resistance: a driver for a debauched politician with the power to command life and death; a legendary fashion designer who gives birth to a grown daughter; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their BDSM work; a wife and mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that promises to afford her escape from her violent husband. As their lives intertwine—in bustling markets and underground clubs, churches and hotel rooms—the vagabonds are seized and challenged by spirits who command the city’s dark energy. Whether running from danger, meeting with secret lovers, finding their identities, or vanquishing their demons, Osunde’s characters confront and support one another, before converging one night for the once-in-a-lifetime gathering that gives the book its unexpectedly joyous conclusion.
Blending unvarnished realism with myth and fantasy, Vagabonds! is a vital work of imagination that takes us deep inside the hearts, minds, and bodies of a people in duress—and in triumph.