At the start of this novel, she is forty-five years old with a boyfriend, Freddie, who is twenty-five, the same age as her son would have been had he lived. Jagua is elegant, sophisticated and sexy. Freddie cannot get enough of her. Freddie is ambitious.
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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi. Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi. Tells the story of Jagua Nana, an ageing high-lifer and habitue of the seedy club Tropicana, which is an evocation of the chaos and intensive life of Lagos. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
Published October 8th by Heinemann Educational Books first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 7. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Jagua Nana , please sign up. Could you send me a copy? To Anthonia Ekwensi P. Gbolahan Have you checked Abebooks?
See 1 question about Jagua Nana…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Jagua Nana. May 16, Eric rated it really liked it. But Ekwensi published his own work well over 50 books, a book which acquired a measure of notoriety when it was well known and well distributed.
Jagua Nana is actually a very well written book, as Ekwensi was an acknowledged dexterous story-teller even if some self-styled critics tended to undermine him. Here he presents a magnificent picture of a veritable, shameless, calculating and ruthless African prostitute. Jagua has sunk low - well below the nether rungs of degeneracy, and she lives within her own rules.
A cardinal rule for her is to regard sex as an easy route to quick money, and the richer the clients the better; especially "white" clientelle who apparently hold the keys to lots of money. And local "big men" politicians too. She sleeps and milks them all, but still has an eye on her own marital and romantic future - she fastens her claws on young promising Freddie.
It does not matter that he is like 20 years younger than she is. There are plenty of events, twists and turns, most of it prurient, but what does it matter? Jagua has set out her stall, and prostitution for her is life.
Even when she is forced back to the rural areas village where she continues providing sex for men, including pertinent aristocracy. At last even at her age, she gets pregnant! Does it matter that she would not know the biological father of the child? Sadly perhaps she loses the child; but at least by a stroke of great fortune, she finds out that she has a fantastic unexpected horde of money, and of course she has no qualms helping herself to it.
She can now become a very important merchant of sorts, and de-emphasize selling her aging body all over the place. We hope so anyway! View all 9 comments. Dec 08, Mena rated it really liked it. This sure wasn't Chinua Achebe. Lagos was pretty crazy in the 60s, apparently not that that's changed and although the story was pretty intense, it had a number of humorous and poignant moments especially its ending. Such a hidden gem of Nigerian literature. Jagua Nana is an unforgettable character.
As usual I celebrate serendipitous co-readings. I have just finished three novels about displacement, countries in transition, and how human relationships change in such times. One set in Nigeria in the s Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi , one in the contemporary Czech Republic Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar and one in an unnamed country [Note, I'm going to publish this same review for all three novels discussed, because reading them in parallel helped me understand them more deeply.
Each novel is also at least in part a road trip; they contain one or more journeys of varying length and means of transit, from lorry and canoe to spaceship and motorcycle to science fiction doorways. Each book ends with a return to childhood home, but in very different ways. I enjoyed each of them, and appreciate their very different styles and atmospheres. I would have to say that Hamid's is the most accomplished. I can't make an informed judgement about Ekwensi.
He writes in a fairly simple style, with his points spelled out, but this may be a purposeful decision that draws on traditional storytelling methods. As his protagonist is a relatively unschooled woman driven by her passions, this works pretty well. Kalfar has good control of his novel until the last twenty or thirty pages, when as a first-time novelist he tries to cram in four novels worth of overwrought philosophizing in the form of endless questions; he was perhaps poorly served by an editor who didn't rein him in.
I imagine he'll cringe when remembering these pages in future years, because he does have a lot of promise and I look forward to more from him. Of the three, he is the one who I will be most likely to choose more of, once it arrives. Hamid is extensively reviewed so I'm not going to say much here, other than I was surprised by his rather optimistic story.
It is a reminder that there are still many good people trying to do good things, and that we are a creative species. In the end, though, it was not a book I would press on people, saying 'you have to read this.
It offers a lyrical reading of the subtle changes in that relationship, and is also optimistic about how two caring people can develop and care for a deep love. Published in , Jagua Nana is about a newly independent Nigeria trying to establish self-government.
This is told through the eyes of a woman who has moved from rural Nigeria to Lagos in search of intensity: freedom to live in the moment, especially at the Tropicana bar. She ends up living on men, although she also falls for a young teacher struggling to climb upwards via an education in England. Eventually two of her lovers enter a deadly struggle for election to the Lagos Council.
In the middle of the novel she travels back to the countryside in a gesture meant to capture the young teacher. There, she manages to reconcile two warring factions using her sexual allure. Back in Lagos, however, she fails in trying to reconcile the two candidates. Modernity has driven men to a level of lust for power and money that cannot be constructively solved. Ekwensi is successful in conveying her outsized sexuality and its effect, and also in portraying a wide variety of Lagos and country men: conforming to Western middle class models, political boss, young criminal, wise elder, smart leader trying to negotiate the changing world, pious and righteous rural man who condemns city life, etc.
He made a good literary choice in deciding to portray this struggle from the view of a woman driven by short term and self-interested goals, who is largely immune to the issues the men are in conflict over. In the end, though, she is captured by tradition and must go home to care for her aging mother.
Against her will, she finds some peace but is still driven by her obsession with activity and change. We leave her a bit more mature, but uncertain whether her passions will again overwhelm her sense. We have no doubt that Lagos is in trouble. I don't want to say too much about the plot of Spaceman of Bohemia , because it is much more dependent on its plot than is Jagua. But there are plenty of ideas as well, many circulating around the experience of the Czechs under the Russians. Complicity, retribution, reconsideration.
Again there is a careful examination of a developing relationship, between the astronaut and his wife. The outcome is different but feels as complete and natural as in Exit West. Well done. Kalfur handles the parallels between his spaceman's situation and that of the religious reformer and martyr? Jan Hus well; it underlines the importance of Czech history and the consequences of our decisions that are depicted throughout the novel. It doesn't feel forced until the very end, when the similarity of what is decided makes sense, but the prose about it is a bit much.
Or do they always corrupt; are we better off on the land?
The Modern Novel
A novel set in Lagos, the capital city of Nigeria, and in the eastern Nigerian village of Ogabu in the s; published in English in Like many of the characters he wrote about, Cyprian Ekwensi grew up outside his Igbo Ibo homeland in eastern Nigeria. Also like many of his characters, Ekwensi tried his hand at several professions. Trained as a pharmacist, he taught biology and chemistry before joining the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, where he became head of the features department. He also practiced journalism, for which he had a certain flair, and began writing fiction.
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Bold, moving, entertaining and controversial, this is the great novel of s Lagos life - with one of the most unforgettable heroines in literature. Jagua Nana, no longer young but still irresistible, lives a life of hedonism in Lagos: men, parties, fights, wild nights in the Tropicana with her handsome young boyfriend Freddie. Rushing from one experience to the next in search of something she can't quite grasp, Jagua finds herself embroiled in shady politics, caught up in village feuds and a source of drama wherever she goes. In this vivid depiction of s Nigeria, everyone is hustling and everyone is on the make - and a woman like Jagua must find her own unconventional path to fulfilment. A joy to read; his glorious imagination captured ours Jagua Nana is my favourite of his novels.