Twenty years after his last novel, Nigeria's maestro of modern fiction takes a long breath and digs deeply into the darker recesses of contemporary African politics and society. He tells a tale of betrayal of friends and ideals as power corrupts a country's highest leaders and the confusions of modern life disorient his people. Dealing with a world as yet so imperfectly formed, Achebe's smooth touch sometimes falters, yet his broader vision successfully reflects the larger, more complex realities that any chronicler of Africa today must try to apprehend. Ghanaian poet Kojo Laing, in his first novel, breaks new ground for the genre, scoring a prodigious symphony of life in contemporary Accra. He develops his characters' lives as separate themes, alternating realistic days with surreal nights, as they juggle African traditions and Western values, tribal loyalties and national consciousness. A powerful and original stylist, Laing should become a major voice in Africa.