For fans of Dave Eggers, Teju Cole, and James McBride, comes this extraordinary novel of morality and the redemptive powers of art that offers a glimpse into an African underworld rarely described in fiction.
Meet Bingo, the greatest drug runner in the slums of Kibera, Nairobi, and maybe the world. A teenage “growth-retard,” as he calls himself, often mistaken for a younger boy, he faithfully serves Wolf, the drug lord of Kibera. Bingo spends his days throwing rocks at Krazi Hari, the prophet of Kibera’s garbage mound, “lipping” safari tourists of their cash and hanging out with his best friend, Slo-George, a taciturn fellow whose girth is a mystery to Bingo in a place where there is never enough food. Bingo earns his keep by running “white” to a host of clients, including Thomas Hunsa, a reclusive artist whose paintings, rooted in African tradition, move him. But when Bingo witnesses a drug-related murder and Wolf sends him to an orphanage for “protection,” Bingo’s life changes and he learns that life itself is the “run.”
A modern trickster tale that draws on traditional African legends, Bingo’s Run is a wildly original, often very funny, and always moving story of a boy alone in a corrupt and dangerous world who must depend on his wits and inner resources to survive.
Read an excerpt HERE.
"Fifteen year old Bingo is the fastest drug runner in town, even though he describes himself as a "growth-tard", his diminutive stature helps keep him out of trouble. He's knows how to be charming, and when to disappear. And he knows he's in trouble when he witnesses the death of a drug lord and helping himself to a suitcase full of money and "white" (it's never clear what the drug was, but I'm guessing cocaine). He hides out in an orphanage, and when a wealthy American woman comes, he finds a new way to grift and get a ticket to a whole new life. While this all makes him seem a very bad person, he most certainly is not. I doubt anyone can read this book and not fall in love with him. Levine's pitch perfect use of dialect really sets a tone and keeps you turning the pages. If you like "trickster" tales, this is one of the best."