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The Road to the Salt Sea: A Novel by Samuel Kolawole (Hardcover) (PREORDER)

The Road to the Salt Sea: A Novel by Samuel Kolawole (Hardcover) (PREORDER)

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Fiction - Literary - Saga - Historical - Cultural Heritage - World Literature - Africa - Nigeria - Thriller

As wrenching and luminous as Omar El Akkad’s What Strange Paradise and Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, a searing exploration of the global migration crisis that moves from Nigeria to Libya to Italy, from an exciting new literary voice.

Able God works for low pay at a four-star hotel where he must flash his “toothpaste-white smile” for wealthy guests. When not tending to the hotel’s overprivileged clientele, he muses over self-help books and draws life lessons from the game of chess.

But Able’s ordinary life is upended when an early morning room service order leads him to interfere with Akudo, a sex worker involved with a powerful but dangerous hotel guest. Suddenly caught in a web of violence, guilt, and fear, Able must run to save himself—a journey that leads him into the desert with a group of drug-addled migrants, headed by a charismatic religious leader calling himself Ben Ten. The travelers’ dream of reaching Europe—and a new life—is shattered when they fall prey to human traffickers, suffer starvation, and find themselves on the precipice of death, fighting for their lives and their freedom.

As Able God moves into the treacherous unknown, his consciousness becomes focused on survival and the foundations of his beliefs—his ideas about betterment and salvation—are forever altered. Suspenseful, incisive, and illuminating, The Road to the Salt Sea is a story of family, fate, religion, survival, the failures of the Nigerian class system, and what often happens to those who seek their fortunes elsewhere.


Samuel Kọ´láwọlé was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. His work has appeared in AGNI, Georgia Review, The Hopkins Review, Gulf Coast, Washington Square Review, Harvard Review, Image Journal, and other literary publications. He has received numerous residencies and fellowships, and has been a finalist for the Graywolf Press Africa Prize, shortlisted for UK's The First Novel Prize, and won an Editor-Writer Mentorship Program for Diverse Writers. He studied at the University of Ibadan and holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing with distinction from Rhodes University, South Africa; is graduate of the MFA in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts; and earned his PhD in English and Creative Writing from Georgia State University. He has taught creative writing in Africa, Sweden, and the United States, and currently teaches fiction writing as an Assistant Professor of English and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

"In his fine debut novel, The Road to the Salt Sea, Samuel Kolawole gifts us the story of Able God, a conflicted but determined young Nigerian man who makes the dangerous journey from West Africa to Libya, where he crosses the treacherous waters of the Atlantic into Europe. In bringing to life Able God's story, Kolawole shows us why African lives matter and shows us that the continent teems with millions of Able Gods, people full of promise and potential who can help build a better world." -- Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Fat Time and Other Stories and Song of the Shank

"I cannot think of another time in my life when I have come across a new writer as profoundly talented as Samuel Kolawole. And his profound talent has brought us a beautifully rendered, brutal novel told with great empathy and heart. The Road to the Salt Sea has all of the markings of a masterful and enduring work of literature. And I get the feeling that Kolawole is just warming up." -- Julianna Baggott, bestselling author of Which Brings Me to You, Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders, and I'd Really Prefer to Be Here With You

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