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Unoma Azuah

Edible BonesEdible Bones

In Edible Bones, Nigerian-born award winning author, Unoma Azuah skillfully captures a dramatic and revealing picture of a complicated African immigrant’s life in America.


Kaito works as a security guard at the American Embassy in Lagos. He deals with hundreds of hopeful Nigerian visa applicants, daily. Barely a third of the crowds, who line up outside of the embassy before dawn each day, will actually be called to the service desk, and of those, most are told, “Denied!”


Kaito, however, gets lucky; his application for a visitor’s visa is approved. He departs for the US, eager to fulfill the American dream of his media-driven imagination, where every house is a castle and every American life replete with luxurious cars, designer clothes, and widescreen TVs. Edible Bones follows his journey as an undocumented African immigrant in an unwelcoming American urban square and chronicles the distance between his grand expectations and his ensuing formidable fate.

Price: $15.99

eBook: $9.99

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5

Print :148 pages

PRINT 13-ISBN: 978-0-9823077-8-6

eBook ISBN: 978-0-9823077-9-3

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012954835

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Unoma Azuah is Assistant Professor of English at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. Her first book, Sky High Flames, won the Urban Spectrum Award and the ANA/Flora Nwapa Award. Edible Bones, her second novel, garnered the 2011 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize. It has now been republished in the United States. Azuah is also the author of The Length of Light, a short story collection, and Night Songs, a poetry collection.


Explanation of title ( By the author)

Bones are usually leftovers, scraps from a meal. Kaito, the major character is left with nothing but the scraps of his dreams so he resorts to making do with the bones. He makes them edible. In other words, bones become the only meal he can have because he misses out on the "feast" he expects to be a part of. He only encounters just the leftovers from the feast.



Edible Bones (Original edition) “Aidoo-Snyder Book Award Winner.”


“Edible Bones casts a cold eye on the life of African immigrants in the U.S. The economic and political realities of living in the American underclass have been well documented, but usually in ways that suggest that the core human values of working-class culture – love, trust, and solidarity – can either triumph somehow over injustice or at least provide some consolation for it.

                Edible Bones provides no such escape route. The characters’ relationships seem as mercenary and hollow as the world outside. Readers will have a hard time deciding whether to like or dislike Kaito, whether to sympathize with him or despise him, and, at the end of the novel, whether to wish him well or wish him good riddance. Edible Bones is an unrelenting, though often very funny, anatomy of a world so consumed by the struggle for money, luxury, and status that no alternative seems possible anymore.”

--John McAllister: Professor of Literature, Gaborone, Botswana.



“Edible Bones narrates the suffering of Nigerians whose successes are moored to the America dream. However, unusually, Edible Bones combines the usual with the rarely told. There are the immigrant issues, the gay syndrome, the psyche of the American culture, the hypocrisy of the American system, the beauty and ugliness of African communality and the coldness of modern life; all which add a refreshing twist to the narrative. Kaito’s encounters become the folder of other stories, stories that come to define the value of an immigrant life. Subtly, though more brilliantly, the tales of two different worlds are bared. Nigeria may be a home of wants; America is [not] a land of easy coins. With its simplicity of plot, naturalness of characterization and smoothness of descriptiveness, Edible Bones worked my reading appetite.”

--Joseph Omotayo: Literary journalist, Lagos, Nigeria.


“Unoma Azuah’s delivery is exquisite, done in simple language, and a free-flowing narrative. She does not try to impress. She simply tells a good story so well the intrigue and captivation would have a lot of readers continuously flipping the pages…

Unoma writes well about the senseless struggle of Kaito. [F]or this young man, there was no going back to the land where he had seen no hope [so he] agrees to wash dishes, clean floors in America … to earn a living while constantly looking over his shoulder for law enforcement.

I enjoyed Edible Bones. On the whole, Edible Bones is a fulfilling read.”

--Kurannen Baaki: Nigerian writer, Kaduna State, Nigeria.