Born on a Tuesday is a stirring, starkly rendered novel about a young boy struggling to find his place in a society that is fracturing along religious and political lines. In far northwestern Nigeria, Dantala lives among a gang of street boys who sleep under a kuka tree. During the election, the boys are paid by the Small Party to cause trouble. When their attempt to burn down the opposition’s local headquarters ends in disaster, Dantala must run for his life, leaving his best friend behind. He makes his way to a mosque that provides him with food, shelter, and guidance. With his quick aptitude and modest nature, Dantala becomes a favored apprentice to the mosque’s sheikh. Before long, he is faced with a terrible conflict of loyalties, as one of the sheikh’s closest advisors begins to raise his own radical movement. When bloodshed erupts in the city around him, Dantala must decide what kind of Muslim—and what kind of man—he wants to be. Told in Dantala’s naïve, searching voice, this astonishing debut explores the ways in which young men are seduced by religious fundamentalism and violence.

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6.8

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All Reviews

Critic Reviews (6)

6.8
Weighted Avg. Adjusted by the addition of a statistical value.
Critic Score Distribution
Highest score:
Lowest score:
Average score:
9.0
6.0
7.7
  1. Positive: 5 Out of 6
  1. Mixed: 1 Out of 6
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 6
Critical Consensus: Good.
2

Daily Nation

28 Dec 2016
8.0
A few months ago I read the Caine Prize compilation of finalist short stories of 2013, which is where I first met Elnathan’s riveting work, “Bayan Layi”, a short story that was one of my favourites in the collection, about a street boy ...
1

Buff Puff Puff

28 Dec 2016
9.0
One word: Brilliant! I should end this review with that alone. LOL Born on a tuesday is centered around Dantala, whose name literally means to be Born On A Tuesday and is told on a backdrop of Sokoto; places such as Bayan Layi, Dogon Icce and main So ...
2

Wawa Book Review

28 Dec 2016
7.0
‘For the boys who will never be known And the girls who become numbers – Stars without a name’ There are many people who think that Northern Nigeria has only the adherents of one religion, only the people of one tribe and that the experiences o ...
1

The Guardian

28 Dec 2016
8.0
At the centre of Elnathan John’s insightful debut novel about religious extremism in Nigeria is its eponymous protagonist, Dantala, whose name translates as Born on a Tuesday. Dantala is sent away by his father to attend Qur’anic school. He falls ...
1

Cosmopolitan

28 Dec 2016
6.0
“I want to show that things are never simple,” Nigerian writer and satirist, Elnathan John told The Guardian UK. And that’s exactly what the author did in his debut novel, Born On A Tuesday. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I ...
1

New York Times

28 Dec 2016
8.0
Elnathan John is a Nigerian writer and blogger who describes himself on Twitter as: “Satirist; recovering lawyer; novelist . . . not award-winning; not on any cool list; in an abusive relationship with ­Nigeria; bald.” He tweets about ­alco ...

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SIMILAR Books

Publisher(s):

Cassava Republic Press (Nigeria), Grove Atlantic (USA)

ISBN:

978-0-802-12482-1, 978-978-950-664-4

Language:

English

Literary Awards:

Etisalat Prize for Literature, Longlisted (2016)
NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature, Shortlisted (2016)

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