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Greener On the Other Side

by Lionel Ntasano

ISBN-10: 1910266523
ISBN-13: 9781910266526

Greener on the Other Side is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle and Nook Books.
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A teenage boy flees war-torn Africa and treks across the world, from New York to Paris and back to Africa, desperate to find a greater meaning to life.

African teenager Nickolas returns home from school one day to find his family slaughtered. Shell-shocked, Nickolas escapes war-torn Burundi and flees to Manhattan, but the bustling, superficial city has no patience for the displaced young refugee. Uprooted and determined, Nickolas begins a new life studying psychology and theology. While at college, he meets Levy, a narcissistic law student that Nickolas follows to Paris, where they join Levy’s brother, angry artist Stan. Nickolas witnesses a love triangle develop as Stan and Levy vie for the affections of wealthy socialite. Embroiled in the storm of his friends’ sins and self-obsession, Nickolas struggles to find the brighter side of mankind and, at last, abandons his new life to go home after ten years of running away.

Returning to Burundi, Nickolas is sure that his homeland has the purity that eluded him in New York and Paris. He is delighted to find that both his childhood best friend and his close relative are still alive, and reconnects with them, only to find them just as mired in vice. Alcoholism, womanizing, abuse, and self-indulgence are just as rife in Burundi and Kenya. Nickolas learns that, on each continent, men and women are empty and corrupt with sex, drug addiction and alcoholism. Nickolas doggedly continues on his soul-searching journey, his spirit growing stronger as he goes. Is the grass ever actually Greener on the Other Side? What does it mean to hope the best for humanity and truly turn everything over to God?

The passions and experiences of a Burundian man seeing the world are captured strikingly by Lionel Ntasano in Greener on the Other Side. Nickolas Jordan is a bright, observant boy who grows into a humble, conflicted man of faith. The world treats him savagely, from the murder of his parents to the assault on his friends’ integrity, but, ultimately, Greener on the Other Side is about understanding, forgiveness and God. A solemn but soaring work of realistic literary fiction, Ntasano’s book is epic in scale and powerful in purpose. Nickolas Jordan’s flaws, his virtues, and his persevering faith lead readers through many nations, but more importantly, through the full range of human morality.

Lionel Ntasano


I was born in the third smallest country in Africa, also, one of the most unknown countries in the world - Burundi. However, my life and work have taken me through Zambia, the U.S.A., Kenya, France and Switzerland, among others. I have now returned home, and run a small beach resort. I am musician at heart, culinary chef by profession, but, Georges Orwell tapped into my unconscious mind liberating a part of me through literature. I have made it my lifetime goal to share this liberating abstract ideology by writing. My first attempt was by publishing a novel, Greener On The Other Side. Writing this first novel has helped me reconnect to family and friends after a turbulent life of glamour, travel and tragedy.

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This perceptive, coherent, thought-provoking and piercing work highlights the subtle social game of everyday life filled with puns and double meanings, seen through the eyes of an unorthodox hero - a very young priest by the name of Nickolas Jordan. He is a teenage African boy who loses his family in a gruesome genocide. He finds himself in New York City as a political refugee; disillusioned with the adult world and its phoniness; where his world takes another tumble as he meets all kinds of people that further shatter his understanding of life; an envious lawyer, an angry artist, an egocentric heiress, a greedy businessman and a slothful dreamer. After a decade has passed, he returns to his native country to meet his only remaining relative, and childhood best friend maybe to find some closure, but to his surprise, he discovers that she is a gluttonous alcoholic and the best friend, an opportunistic pervert. All these encounters, events and relationships, shape his views and beliefs that ultimately induce him to become a priest. The story is set between 1993 and 2013 in New York, Paris, Nairobi and Burundi, and begets the question whether the Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.