"There is nothing in the world like this book.”

- Lesley Arimah, author of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky

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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.

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As in Nigeria, vagabonds are those whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits. They are those who inhabit transient spaces, who make their paths and move invisibly, who embrace apparitions, old vengeances and alternative realities. 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 experience with underground sex work; a wife and mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her world; a transgender woman and the groundbreaking love of her mother. As their lives intertwine—in bustling markets and underground clubs, churches and hotel rooms—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 shadowselves, Osunde’s characters confront and support one another, before converging 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.


BLURBS


You don’t read this novel. You swan dive into its sea of gods and monsters, lost girls, violent boys, and well-behaved people both righteous and wicked. And when you finally surface, that sound will be you, gasping in wonder.” 

 —Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

A triumph of a book. In Vagabonds! you will discover queer people finding ways to love each other in a society that outlaws queerness, and an explosive portrait of Nigeria that will blow your mind—in prose that feels so alive it practically vibrates off the page. A masterpiece.

- Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water

VAGABONDS!  is a feast of a book, a marvellous ode to spirits and outsiders that is irreverent (and painfully funny) while being serious enough to drill a hole in one’s chest. I feel a fury here—a comforting fury, an I-see-you fury. There is nothing in the world like this book.

- Lesley Arimah, author of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky

VAGABONDS! offers a dazzling, hypnotic portrait of lives lived on the margins. Through Eloghosa Osunde’s supreme imagination, the binary of reality and fantasy is shattered in poetic, kaleidoscopic color. In the roots of the city of Lagos, and at the pith of its most resilient characters, remains an unfettered truth: there is community even – especially – for the displaced, and in the struggle of outsiders lives the most radical potential for hope.’ 

-T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Full of surprising, tender, biting language, Eloghosa Osunde’s VAGABONDS! sets a stage where gods play personal games with human lives. For its shapeshifting images, for its honesty, for the opportunity to sit with joy and discomfort – both necessary mortal things – this novel astounded me’ 

- Dantiel W. Moniz, author of Milk Blood Heat

Electrifying. A fierce, compulsively engaging and striking debut.’

Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch

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"Nigerian artist and writer Osunde's debut novel, set in the hustle and bustle of Lagos, is partly narrated by an omnipresent monitor - is it the city's essence, a god, the devil? - who is privy to the lives of a huge cast of characters, the vagabonds of the title. Each chapter feels like a complete story of its own, with larger than life, mostly queer individuals who lose or find themselves in light of the fate they're dealt and amidst relationships that destroy or strengthen them. An arresting and dazzling tale with a surprising elixir of lyricism and pidgin… Osunde's inventive and unique story releases its message like a confetti of percipience, teasing out meaning and veering onto thought-provoking tangents and snippets of intrigue that initially feel familiar but which morph into something unsettling yet wondrous.

- Booklist

“Osunde’s magnificent magical realist debut crafts a mosaic of struggle and pain in Lagos held together by Tatafo, a supernatural choruslike figure who does the bidding of “cityspirit” Eko... The gorgeous, redemptive ending pulls off a triumphant celebration of queer survival. Throughout, Osunde crafts compassionate prose and seamlessly combines magic and grit. This is a stunning introduction to a bold new writer.”

- Publishers Weekly


"In Osunde’s book, the people of Nigeria know for a fact that spirits at a night market might take them to another space, that a group of women can summon a force to take them away from the violence in their lives, that the powerful can kill as they please, and that anyone can be arrested or killed for being themselves. The vagabonds of Lagos might be gay or lesbian, transgender, unwilling to conform to gender norms, or generally out of step with the dominant society. All of the stories are set in a Nigeria where magic and violence are as common as air and sunlight and outsiders can see the world more clearly than anyone else. “You can see a lot of things better from the outside, you know? For example, I can see now that, together, vagabonds are the city’s power. We’re its charge and circuit. It cannot exist without us. It stands on us….It’s why I’m telling you this story.” This clarity of vision often leads to violence and even death, but Osunde handles both with a compassionate and ultimately inspiring touch.

Osunde revels in the joy of storytelling to render a city and its outsiders in all their flaws and glory."

- Kirkus

"Osunde’s prose toes the line between myth and unexpected realism, making magic and ghosts feel within the reader’s grasp." 

- Vulture

"Eloghosa Osunde’s gasp-inducing novel takes us to the Lagos streets with an ensemble of misfits and vagabonds, each with their own stories of queerness, personal demons, all-consuming love, and debauchery. Osunde captures the lives of outsiders with spirit and tenderness, blending soft-eyed realism with the wacky and fantastical.

-An Other Magazine 

"Every year promises the birth of the next literary superstar as debut novels fill bookshop shelves, and 2022 is no different. Coming with early acclaim from Marlon James, Eloghosa Osunde's VAGABONDS! is an exceptional debut, taking on queerness, capitalism and the societal vagabonds of Lagos' streets."

- i_D/Vice

"The many characters who populate Eloghosa Osunde’s debut novel are vagabonds in the truest sense of the word: those who exist at the fringes of society. Out in the streets of Lagos, they fight to make their way in the world, sometimes at odds with one another and on other occasions coming to each other’s rescue. Together, they add up to a novel as vivid and varied as the city itself. A novel as vivid and varied as the city itself."

- Harper's Bazaar

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