419

419

2.0 2
by Will Ferguson
     
 

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Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is "419," the world’s most insidious Internet scam. 

A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine.

A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa.

And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the Internet, looking for victims.

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Overview

Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is "419," the world’s most insidious Internet scam. 

A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine.

A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa.

And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the Internet, looking for victims.

Lives intersect.  Worlds collide.  And it all begins with a single email: "Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help…"

When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor in a cold northern city, discovers that her father has died because of one such swindle, she sets out to track down—and corner—her father’s killer.  It is a dangerous game she’s playing, however, and the stakes are higher than she can ever imagine.

Woven into Laura’s journey is a mysterious woman from the African Sahel with scars etched into her skin and a young man who finds himself caught up in a web of violence and deceit.

And running through it, a dying father’s final words: "You, I love."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
Ferguson's African epic, which won Canada's Scotiabank Giller prize in 2012, details the linked lives of four individuals, three African and one Canadian, drawn together by Nigeria's bloody, exploited history. Laura seeks justice for her murdered father; amoral Winston chases wealth at any cost; Nnamdi and Amina seek only honest employment and a chance to raise Amina's child. Greed contends with generosity and vengeance with forgiveness in a world where the bad prosper and acts of charity are harshly punished. Despite the terrible events of the book, the author leaves room for hope of a better tomorrow. White North Americans grappling with the 'matter of Africa' is an often fraught affair, bright white teeth contrasted with chocolate skin, where tides of causeless violence wash across the hopeless continent and exoticized, sexualized natives exist solely to provide a supporting cast for white protagonists. Ferguson avoids many of the pitfalls of this genre; every terrible action has a motivation, Nigeria's present calamities have a historical and international context. Most importantly, Winston, Nnamdi and Amina do not exist merely to cast an edifying light on Laura, but, as she belatedly comes to appreciate, have inner lives, goals and ambitions of their own. Ferguson provides a template for novels about Africa other Western authors would do well to contemplate. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Company.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
“The story [Ferguson] weaves is heart-wrenching, fascinating, and scary. A thriller with a raw nerve ending…. Ferguson … dazzles us in 419 with an intricately woven, urgent story. It is an unflinching, ambitious work, flinging us back and forth across the Atlantic, and taking us into danger…. It is a persuasive work of fiction based on a very original premise. Ferguson who swings so deftly from humor to thriller is a writer who can genuinely surprise.” - Toronto Star

“Ferguson’s revenge novel will appeal to everyone…. A sprawling but beautiful third novel. It is a mixture of intrigue, storytelling, parenthood, sorrow, vengeance and fun. It reads a little bit like a Ludlum spy saga, a little bit like a Dickens character novel, a little bit like an Oscar-seeking movie…. [Ferguson] designed [419] as a page-turner. He succeeds fully.” - Winnipeg Free Press

“419 is more than a drugstore-rack police procedural: It’s a deeply ironic, thoroughly engaged politico-philosophical thriller from a comic writer best known for winning a trio of Leacock Awards…. you won’t sleep until you finish, and then rest won’t come easily. Riveting. Provocative.” - The Globe and Mail

"This book shimmers. Tautly paced and vividly drawn, 419 captures the reader in a net of desire and deceit drawn tight by the interconnections of humanity in the twenty-first century." - Vincent Lam, author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures

"419 is an ambitious, fast-paced global thriller which I found impossible to put down." - Camilla Gibb, author of Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement

"Will Ferguson's 419 unveils the brilliant layers of a Nigerian cyberspace sting that brings devastation to an entire family. Ferguson's characters live by their wits, employing techno-wizardry and the cold ingenuity of the old-fashioned con. Intrigue, coercion, shame, and torqued suspense unfold with harrowing speed and the illuminating elegance of a cyber-click." - Lisa Moore, author of Alligator and February

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143188728
Publisher:
Penguin Canada
Publication date:
08/27/2013
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for 419:   Winner of the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize
 
"Compelling." 
—The Times
 
"Ferguson interweaves three far-flung narratives to tell a taut tale of internet deception." 
—Vogue UK
 
"The best and most detailed account of 419 scams I have ever seen. It is satisfying on several levels...the climax is worthy of any thriller."
—Financial Times
 
"An ambitious work about the complexities of reparative justice..elegantly written and evocative of place."
—The Sunday Telegraph
 
“419 is sharp and unpredictable, full of surprising, wonderful characters.  It isn't just clever –it's spectacular.'
—Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments, The Man Booker Prize winner Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, and Two Pints 
 
"As good a novel about the world in its entirety, from Canada to Nigeria, as I've seen in years, or will likely see in years to come. It stays with you, it makes you think, and it hurts."
 —Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story
 
“[419] points in the direction of something entirely new: the Global Novel. It is a novel emotionally and physically at home in the poverty of Lagos and in the day-to-day of North America. It tells us the ways in which we are now bound together and reminds us of the things that will always keep us apart. Ferguson is a true travel writer, his eye attuned to the last horrible detail. He is also a master at dialogue and suspense. It is tempting to put 419 in some easy genre category, but that would only serve to deny its accomplishment and its genius."
- Giller Prize Jury Citation, 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize
 
“…this year’s Giller jury was fulsome on the subject of 419, tipping it as the clear front-runner in this year’s competition for the $50,000 prize.”
- The Globe and Mail
 
“It’s a deeply ironic, thoroughly engaged politico-philosophical thriller…Riveting.  Provocative.”
- The Globe and Mail
 
“This book shimmers.  Tautly paced and vividly drawn, 419 captures the reader in a net of desire and deceit drawn tight by the interconnections of humanity in the twenty-first century.”
- Vincent Lam, author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
 
“419 is an ambitious, fast-paced global thriller which I found impossible to put down.”
- Camilla Gibb, author of Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement
 
“Will Ferguson’s 419 unveils the brilliant layers of a Nigerian cyberspace sting that brings devastation to an entire family.  Ferguson’s characters live by their wits, employing techno-wizardry and the cold ingenuity of the old-fashioned con.  Intrigue, coercion, shame, and torqued suspense unfold with harrowing speed and the illuminating elegance of a cyber click.”
- Lisa Moore, author of Alligator and February
 
“Crossing continents, cultures and cant, Will Ferguson aptly captures the lives of many involved in the online scamming phenomenon known as 419…The four stories converge, cross, and connect in ways that depict a complex world where nothing is as simple as black and white or right and wrong. Ferguson’s novel is one of balance and basic instinct…Readers will finish with a devoted investment in all his characters. They’re modern and living on basic instincts; they're complex, endearing, flawed, cunning, and ambitious.”
- Digital Journal
 
“…A quick-plotted thriller.”
- The Atlantic Wire
 
“A sweeping story with complex twists and turns that spans continents, breaks hearts and ruins lives.”
- The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax)
 
“The story [Ferguson] weaves is heart-wrenching, fascinating, and scary. A thriller with a raw nerve ending…. Ferguson … dazzles us in 419 with an intricately woven, urgent story. It is an unflinching, ambitious work, flinging us back and forth across the Atlantic, and taking us into danger…. It is a persuasive work of fiction based on a very original premise. Ferguson who swings so deftly from humor to thriller is a writer who can genuinely surprise.”
- The Toronto Star
 
“Ferguson’s revenge novel will appeal to everyone…. A sprawling but beautiful third novel. It is a mixture of intrigue, storytelling, parenthood, sorrow, vengeance and fun. It reads a little bit like a Ludlum spy saga, a little bit like a Dickens character novel, a little bit like an Oscar-seeking movie…. [Ferguson] designed [419] as a page-turner. He succeeds fully.”
- Winnipeg Free Press
 
“Though there is a touch of humour in its pages, 419 is much more of a showcase for Ferguson’s travel-writing talents…. A truly enjoyable book…. Ferguson is a keen observer of landscapes and cityscapes, and has a brilliant ear for dialogue and accent…. you will never see those creative 419 emails in your inbox in quite the same way.”
- The Gazette (Montreal)
 
“A powerful read…Ferguson is a heavy-weight now.”
- NOW magazine
 
  Praise for Will Ferguson:
 
“Will Ferguson is a very gifted writer.”
- Bill Bryson
 
"Aldous Huxley meets Carl Hiaasen."
- The Independent
 
“Like Robertson Davies, Will Ferguson has the gift of linkage, of letting unlikely novelistic strands interleave and thicken into a significant braid.”
- The Globe and Mail
 
“Brilliantly entertaining.”
- The Times (UK)
 
“Sharp-eyed and irreverent.”
- Washington Post
 
“Sometimes touching, sometimes amusing and always true…as a wordsmith and traveler, Ferguson knows where he is going.”
- The Boston Globe
 
"Ferguson has great skill.  He perfectly lays in all the bits and pieces that have to add up, so the reader says, “Of course!” when the plot finally unfolds. He does so with such a subtle hand, making them look like bits of incidental information, or colour, that you’re always wondering but can never quite guess until it’s time for the payoff.  That’s the mark of a superb storyteller."
- VUE Magazine
 
“Will Ferguson’s talent as a satirist is to be treasured.”
- Literary Review
 
“Beneath that thick skin lies a poetic soul.”
- The Sunday Times
 
"Frequently and savagely ironic, he is also not afraid to declare his feelings—which means you trust both his humour and his insights."
- The Guardian
 
“Ferguson takes no prisoners.”
- W.P. Kinsella
 
"Will Ferguson is a talent. He writes refreshingly, provocatively and at times eloquently. He takes on issues from a contrarian's perspective, but never exceeds the bounds of reason. He looks for the essence and his search sometimes brings out some smashingly insightful stuff."
- Ottawa Citizen
 
"Ferguson possesses a crafty eye for detail, not to mention a highly developed understanding of the essential folly in what passes for everyday life."
- Edmonton Journal
 
"He is one of the most articulate voices of the generation just coming into the influence and power that is its birthright."
- Hamilton Spectator
 
"Ferguson’s strength does not lie in whether he writes funny or not. His strength is that he writes so well."
- Victoria Times-Colonist
   

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