book cover of The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa
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The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa

A novel by

2024 Authors' Club Best First Novel Award (nominee)
2024 Betty Trask Prize (nominee)
2024 Nero Book Award for Debut Fiction (nominee)
2023 Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction (nominee)

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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Fascinating; unashamedly, brilliantly intelligent. It grapples with ideas around maths, Afrofuturism, biblical myth . . . profound philosophical stuff, but fundamentally it's a really playful, pleasurable book about young boy who's falling madly in love, and has a difficult, intense, loving relationship with his mother." - Sarah Perry

"I fell in love with this novel immediately. It has hilarious energy, a satirical but also wildly ambitious philosophical framework . . . It's eccentric, profound, timely, specific but it also has global concerns and a really, really brilliant central character." - Max Porter

"This novel exudes a wonderfully vivid sense of place and leads the reader inside the head of its teenage hero . . . It's a narrative of depth that also manages to be instantly engaging." - Ian Rankin

"A blazing debut - smart, subversive, funny, heartbreaking. I'm already impatient for Buoro's next book." - Kamila Shamsie

"Stephen Buoro's wonderful The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa is filled with lovable, memorable characters. You'll meet a young man pining over a fantasy; his fierce mother who tries to shield him as best she can; a friend who confides; and others who just want happiness. This novel is at once funny and heartbreaking. Most importantly, it's honest." - De'Shawn Charles Winslow

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