2012 Giller Prize winner. A story based on cases of fraud known as the Nigerian scam. Have you ever received an e-mail from someone claiming to be a Nigerian person of importance in need of assistance to get a large sum of money out of Nigeria? The scam consists of having the gullible target pay some fees in the process of getting the money out. I have also received a similar message from someone claiming to be a lawyer from Malaysia. If you do a quick search on the web, you will find many examples of these scams. A blog I ran into also talked about how the so-called Nigerian scam was not always perpetrated by Nigerian nationals but by people from a variety of locations.
In Will Ferguson’s story, the scammer is in Nigeria and we see the events unfold from his point of view as well as that of several others in Nigeria. We are also told the story of a Canadian victim and his family. The victim’s daughter travels from Calgary to Nigeria to confront those she perceives as responsible for her father’s death. She returns from this trip with a new understanding of what may have driven her father to act the way he did and with some degree of acceptance of for the way things turned out instead of the anger that had originally filled her.
Ferguson, Will. 419. Penguin Canada, Toronto, 2012.
- Book Review: 419 by Will Ferguson (wednesdaybookreview.wordpress.com)
- ‘419’ by Will Ferguson (kimbofo.typepad.com)