Becoming Abigail, a spare yet voluptuous tale about a young Nigerian girl's escape from prostitution is so hypnotic that it begs to be read in one sitting. Abigail, named for a remarkable mother who died while giving birth to her, lives with her grief-stricken father in Nigeria. When her malevolent cousin Peter offers to bring her to London to give her a better life, her father agrees. Upon her arrival, she's tarted up and put to work. A lover of poems and maps ''that unrolled with all the crackling promise of a flying carpet warming up,'' Abigail is sensitive, courageous, and teetering on the brink of madness. Effortlessly gliding between past and present, Chris Abani spins a timeless story of misfortune and triumph.