I am the definer, and I am the defined. And I have every right to define me as what I am, and who I am. So do not try to fit me in a box, because I am claustrophobic and will never be confined in that space which you desperately want me to be. I am whatever I choose to be, as my life is totally mine to live. I have the right to exist in my own body as I deem fit. And exist, I must.EZIOMA KALU.
Lagos is a city for all… You share this place with flesh and not-flesh, and it’s just as much as their city, as it is yours.
Èkó, the spirit of Lagos, and his loyal minion Tatafo weave trouble through the streets of Lagos and through the lives of the ‘vagabonds’ powering modern Nigeria: the queer, the displaced and the footloose…
… Ruled by a treacherous trinity: Èkó, the senior trickster, the melting pot in the sun, the overseer of all, the one who watches the underside of night; Lagos, the plain-mad, plain-fun, plain-loved; and LasGidi, the one with arrogance in its gait, who glimmers under strobe lights, who throws open the loudest nights. Together they are godhead, three in one…
Trigger warning as seen in the book: “There are simple and straightforward and well-behaved people, I’m sure. But this is not a book for them.”
That being said, Vagabonds! is not a book you should read if you are faint-hearted, or if you don’t appreciate bizarre things. Because you’ll see the weirdest of the weirdest things. Things that’ll make you second guess your sanity. Things that’d make you think, reflect and scream. Things that will let your imagination loose.
This is not a book that can be confined in a box. No. It’s an amalgam of so many things. And it definitely defies every rule that demands a piece of writing to follow a particular structure.
Vagabonds! is a magical realist book that highlights the existence, sufferings and marginalization faced by the group of people the society terms ‘the Vagabonds.’ That is the queer community.
If they say we don’t exist, that they can’t see us anywhere except in the corners, in perverse bodies, how come I can see you and hold you and you’re holy; how come I can love you and home you and you’re there in flesh, in my mind, in my blood; how come I keep waking up in this love and feel rested? What else to do now then, when a love like this finds you? What else but praise? What else but dance?Eloghosa Osunde, Vagabonds!
According to the book, the term ‘vagabonds’ means a person who wanders from place to place without a home. The homeless, ambulatory, unsettled, rootless. Any male person who dresses in the fashion of a woman in the public place and vice versa.
Set in Lagos Nigeria, Vagabonds exposes us to many characters who tell different tales of marginalization, hypocrisy, political and religious corruption, transphobia and homophobia.
A character who comes to Lagos for a better life chooses to be a dumb driver in exchange of a good good life, one filled with wealth and prosperity. But the price he has to pay for working under a wealthy politician who trades body parts, is enormous.
If anybody deserves to live, it read in the coming light, it is us. It is us, after all the dying we have done.Eloghosa Osunde, Vagabonds!
A ghost who wanders about, living her best life even in the afterlife, having sex for the fun of it, later develops a strong feeling for a fellow girl and she doesn’t know how best to handle it.
A celebrity seamstress and her lover have to hide who they are from the world. But when her daughter, Rain comes, she opens her eyes to whom she really is and what she should be doing and not doing, as her life is hers to live.
Spirits known as the fairygodgirls sneak in books for teens in their bags, to read and understand themselves better.
Dear Wura, I’m listening to Lagbaja’s “Never far away” on repeat. I can only seem to write you with music. This is your song. Our song.Eloghosa Osunde, Vagabonds!
The devil saves a child from an abusive uncle. And some women, victims of abuse develop ways to save themselves, by disappearing into thin air.
A trans housemaid finds favour in the sight of her madam, whom accepts her for who she is and persuades her to be herself just the way she is.
The bill against homosexuality and cross dressing is passed and the book shows how the queer community reacts to it.
The book shows the fear and marginalization the queer group faces just for being themselves and existing in their bodies, and how in the end, they triumph.
The book doesn’t follow a particular pattern, and this might trigger confusion. But it is a collection of different stories told by different characters. And just when you think a character’s part has ended, they appear in the next story, or the one after that. I’ll rate the book as 5/5. You should totally read it.
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