How would you describe a city? Would you sing about all the best parts and whisper about the parts you thought people wouldn't like? What makes a city good and bad? What is beautiful? The orchestra of car horns and the smell of fresh fish at the market, scales like silver coins and the promise of a seafood meal? What is ugly? The argument of car horns, the smell of fresh fish at the market, silver coins in the gutter and the threat of a seafood meal? Who are you describing your city to? Is it a person who knows all the folds in it's fabric? Or is it someone who has never been, who you are longing to welcome? Someone you'd rather stay away? Are you describing someone else's city?
Chibundu Onuzo is describing Lagos for herself. Lagos shimmering, thrilling, crashing with colour. With crime and love and tenderness and danger. With godliness and godlessness. Layers and layers of Lagos. So many stories. The stories are just a backdrop for the city. The Lagos she writes is not too clean, buffed up for tourists and voyeurs. It's not too dirty, from mud slung words with intentions of 'civilising' spoken by visitors with a different understanding of beauty. Chibundu Onuzo writes Welcome to Lagos for lovers of cities in all their chaotic, dangerous beauty and ugliness. But most of all she writes Lagos for Lagos.