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kalamiehet

Kun Benin isä joutuu lähtemään töihin Nigerian toiselle laidalle, Ben ja hänen kolme veljeään käyttävät tilaisuutta hyväkseen. Pojat ryhtyvät kalastelemaan pienen kylän kupeessa virtaavassa joessa, mikä on ankarasti kiellettyä. Joki on pahasti saastunut.Eräällä kalareissulla nelikko törmää paikalliseen kylähulluun. Tämä ennustaa, että yksi veljistä tulee surmaamaan toisen.Kun Benin isä joutuu lähtemään töihin Nigerian toiselle laidalle, Ben ja hänen kolme veljeään käyttävät tilaisuutta hyväkseen. Pojat ryhtyvät kalastelemaan pienen kylän kupeessa virtaavassa joessa, mikä on ankarasti kiellettyä. Joki on pahasti saastunut.Eräällä kalareissulla nelikko törmää paikalliseen kylähulluun. Tämä ennustaa, että yksi veljistä tulee surmaamaan toisen. Synkkä ennustus käynnistää tapahtumasarjan, joka paisuu traagisiin, lähes myyttisiin mittoihin. Samalla perheromaani kasvaa värikylläiseksi kuvaksi nyky-Nigeriasta, Afrikan väkirikkaimmasta maasta.Nigerialaissyntyisen Chigozie Obioman (s. 1986) henkeäsalpaava ja kaunis Kalamiehet jatkaa parhaiden afrikkalaisten kirjailijoiden perinnettä. Obiomaa onkin verrattu niin Chimamanda Ngozi Adichieen kuin Chinua Achebeen....

Title : Kalamiehet
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789523002425
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Kalamiehet Reviews

  • Nicole~
    2018-11-27 09:37

    4.5 starsThe madman has entered our house with violence Defiling our sacred grounds Claiming the single truth of the universe Bending down our high priests with iron Ah! yes the children, Who walked on our Forefathers’ graves Shall be stricken with madness. They shall grow the fangs of the lizard They shall devour each other before our eyes And by ancient command It is forbidden to stop them! - poem by Mazisi Kunene, the epigraph to The FishermenChigozie Obioma's talent as a powerful storyteller and gifted writer is evident from the very first pages. He immediately and vividly evokes the legend behind a key character of the novel's plot: the Omi-Ala - once a pure river, a clean source of fish and drinking water, and worshipped by the people of Akure like a god - became besmirched by rumor, condemned as evil by colonialists tooting Christianity; then defiled, tabooed, and condemned as untouchable in 1995, when its waters became steeped in the blood soaked mystique of a floating mutilated corpse. The Fishermen, set in Nigeria in the 1990's when it was under the military rule of General Sani Abacha, recounts the fall of the Agwu family. Obioma skillfully mixes national unrest, westernization and modernity to parallel the paths of his characters without turning the novel into a political diatribe. Striking from the start, Obioma's prose is hypnotic, casting spells on the reader with the folklore of the land, the myth and legends that contribute to the decline of the Agwus whose lives are ensnared by their customs and beliefs. For Ikenna, Boja, Obembe, and Benjamin (the youngest brother of the four and the narrator): this is no uplifting coming-of-age tale or revelatory retrospective contemplation. The interwoven parables are hard-lessons, dark, brutal, mournful, and tragic. Crime and punishmentI had to take a breath as a paralyzing sense of pain was palpable when the boys, caught for skipping school to go fishing in the forbidden Omi-Ala river, are severely whipped by their father, Eme. But just when I felt extreme hatred for Eme, there's comprehension ( not justification) for the corporal beating : “What I want you to be is a group of fishermen who will be fishers of good dreams, who will not relent until they have caught the biggest catch. I want you to be juggernauts, menacing and unstoppable fishermen...Not the kind that fish at a filthy swamp like the Omi-Ala, but fishermen of the mind. Go-getters. Children who will dip their hands into rivers, seas, oceans of this life and become successful: doctors, pilots, professors, lawyers. ”Prophet of DoomThe boys' fates were already sealed at the forbidden Omi-Ala river by an encounter with the town's madman ( because, you know, every town has one), Abulu, a soothsayer said to be possessed by the demon, "robed from head to foot in filth. As he rose spryly to stand, some of the filth rose with him...his back was caked with a dripping mess from some dead mango in a state of putrefaction...I observed that he carried on his body a variety of odours, the most noticeable of which was a faecal smell that wafted at me like a drone of flies when I drew closer to him. This smell, I thought, might have been a result of his going for long without cleaning his anus after excretion.” Abulu calls Ikenna by name and foretells his murder at the hand of one of his brothers, evoking the biblical Cain and Abel fratricide. The gravity of the prophecy and belief in superstition run through the brothers' veins like an infection morbidly threatening its host, because even in the hearts of a loving band of brothers harbor the germs of distrust, deception, jealousy, rage and violence. Which one of them could be the future killer of his own brother? Realizing that Abulu is the cause of conflict between the brothers, a gruesome revenge is planned, tragically furthering the break down of the family mosaic.To look into the future one would see nothing; it was like peeping into a person’s earhole.Historical contextThe author also masterfully uses the Nigerian tradition of storytelling as a literary subversive blanket for socio-political criticism; cautious not to overwhelm the central themes, it is subtle yet effective. Obioma acknowledges that "countries can take a wrong turn just as people can." Nigeria was created from the ideas of madness, deceit and false prophets who have caused disharmony and destruction to Africa: allegories in the Fishermen of British intrusion that strongly resemble Chinua Achebe's acclaimed work Things Fall Apart,The African Trilogy #1 - one could classify it as the latter's metaphoric grandchild.When the British left in 1960 and Nigeria gained independence, the people immediately saw their differences....(three major tribes with nothing in common, cohabiting to form a ‘nation’)...and that they could not exist as a nation, but it was too late. I intend Abulu as a metaphor for this entity that infiltrates the lives of others, creates chaos through mere words, and causes suffering among the people, while the family of four boys is a metaphor for the major tribes of Nigeria. - Chigozie ObiomaThe Agwu family story unravels between 1993-2003, putting them in the midst of the 1993 elections and its overturning by the junta; MKO Abiola's imprisonment and execution; the dictatorial rule of General Sani Abacha, to finally civil governance. Whereas a little historical background gives the novel grounding and realness, its presence is not necessary to be blown away by the brilliant, artful authorship of Chigozie Obioma.

  • Dianne
    2018-12-05 09:45

    Oh, how I loved the end of this book! It made my heart soar.Really, really well done debut novel that is worthy of the Man Booker shortlisting. It is a family drama with overtones of a Greek tragedy. The story is narrated by Ben, both as a 10-year old child and an adult man looking back. Ben is the 4th son of a tightly knit Nigerian family that begins to unravel when the disciplinarian father takes a job at the Nigerian Central Bank in another city. Without the father's watchful eyes on them, the four oldest boys decide they are going to become fishermen. For six weeks, the brothers and their friends tramp down to the foul, forbidden Omi-Ala river to fish and catch tadpoles. One fateful day at the river, the brothers' paths cross with Abulu the Prophet, a local madman. Abulu makes a prophecy that the oldest son, Ikenna, will be brutally killed by a fisherman - which Ikenna interprets to be one of his own brothers. With mythic overtones, the family, one by one, becomes undone by the prophecy.There is richness and beauty in the details of this story - the daily life and interactions of the family set against the political and social backdrop of Nigeria in the late 90's. Ben describes each member of his family as an animal, often a bird, and poetically describes how that family member embodies that animal's characteristics. I had a hard time finishing this book - it look me almost a week because I would become overwhelmed by dread as the prophecy wreaked its havoc on the family. I feared what would happen next and to whom, so I would have to put the book down and walk away. (Yes, I am a "wuss.")Lest you avoid this book thinking it may be a downer, ultimately it is uplifting and moving. Do read it. It's a worthy contender for the Man Booker. I look forward to what is next from Mr. Obioma.

  • Thepocobookreader
    2018-12-04 13:30

    This review has been long overdue. I read The Fishermen some time ago following a brilliant review by the African Book Addict before the Booker long list was announced and I jumped right into the novel, with no inkling that it would fast become one of my favourite books of the year.Written from the perspective of younger brother Benjamin, the novel follows the lives of four Nigerian brothers from a close knit family, their prophetic encounter with a madman and the devastating effect that one moment can generate. This notion of external forces wreaking havoc and destroying the great potential of the family is perhaps an allegory for Nigeria, the resource rich nation whose own story could be very different were it not for the ravages of foreign colonialism and internal corruption. But I digress. Whilst there is indeed an undercurrent of political discontent in the story, it is buried deep beneath a beautiful, engaging and intimate portrayal of a family in crisis. Obioma’s evocation of the minutiae of life and the foibles of this family are understated yet powerful, compelling the reader to fully imbibe the story. The language is simple, terse and simultaneously emotive, multifaceted and highly efficacious. The narrative, which switches between adult Benjamin and Benjamin as a child feels cathartic, brimmed with animalistic and esoteric allusions that serve as innocent, child -like signifiers of the imminent tragedy. This book is everything and more that I want in a novel, it left my head in that brilliant post good- book head –fog for about a week and my only complaint would be that Obioma doesn’t have another novel for me to read! With humble nods to the great Achebe throughout the book, Obioma looks set to follow the success of his literary forefather with this brilliant debut. And he certainly gets my vote for the Man Booker!

  • Book Riot Community
    2018-11-25 12:38

    This book has been on my reading list for a solid two years and I’m thrilled I finally picked it up. The Fishermen captures the complex dynamics of brotherhood at a young age in a way that harbors both natural sentimentality and literary gravitas. Narrated by Ben, a nine-year-old Nigerian boy with four brothers living in a rural town, Obioma’s novel is adeptly attuned to how enormous and wondrous everything seems during childhood, but what makes The Fishermen truly remarkable is the author’s ability to transform the most astounding events of youth into believable moments of personal growth, familial pain, and utter joy.— Aram Mrjoianfrom The Best Books We Read In June 2017: https://bookriot.com/2017/07/03/riot-... ____________________This book is astonishing. When I decided to give The Fishermen a try, I honestly didn’t really expect to make it past the first few pages (it’s not the sort of plot I usually get excited about). But then all of a sudden I was halfway through and could barely catch my breath. There’s just so much that’s fascinating, surprising, and exhilarating about the book. The narrator is an observant but not excessively precocious nine-year-old. The story follows the disintegration of a family in small-city Nigeria. The focus is on a group of brothers whose brutal cleaving drives and haunts the plot. The mood is both abstractly mythic and concretely physical. The writing is perfectly tuned, lyrical in places and bracing in others. The characters’ shifting multilingualism (Igbo, Yoruba, English) plays an intriguing role. The narrative structure has the past float to the surface of the present, then recede, then reappear. And the whole thing is much, much more than the sum of these parts. — Derek AttigFrom The Best Books We Read In February: http://bookriot.com/2015/03/02/riot-r...

  • Darkowaa
    2018-12-09 09:56

    !!! http://africanbookaddict.com/2015/07/...I'm just floored right now. This is a dark, haunting, tragic, heart-wrenching BUT amazing story of 4 brothers and their family and a madman - Abulu. Right when you think things get better and the craziness plateaus, something pops up! I feel like I know/knew Ikenna, Boja, Obembe and Ben - their love and brotherhood are so dear to me, I don't know why. Chigozie Obioma wrote about these boys in such a tender way that had me ALLLLL in my feelings. I felt alllll types of feelings reading this book - every word counts! Obioma's use of metaphors made this story too palpable. References to 'Things Fall Apart' in this book, alongside other contemporary works and worldly happenings made this all the more a satisfying read. I'm SUPER proud of this author and I wish him nothing but more success! This has been the best book I've read all summer .... and maybe for this year (its a little too early though, we're only in June!) I'm still trying to digest some stuff from the book...I'm just sitting here thinking about stuff...Pick this up if you get the chance. Please - just do it. Official review on my book blog: http://africanbookaddict.com/2015/07/...

  • Ameriie
    2018-12-17 13:54

    I loved this story from the start. The first quarter of the novel had me chuckling and nodding my head in recognition at the family dynamics, especially when it comes to strict Education! Education! parents. Chigozie's imagery and metaphors are superb, and something in the prose and unfolding of events gives the story a magical realism bent, though everything is plausible.Really, the story is presented as a fable, with nearly each chapter named after an animal and beginning with who that animal represents. At the same time, the overall feel is fresh and modern. THE FISHERMEN is humorous and heartbreaking and touching and I'm sure a second read will prove both rewarding and revealing.

  • Maxwell
    2018-11-21 09:39

    The Fishermen tells the story of a family in ruins after a madman's prophesy drives one brother to be plagued with fear. Obioma utilizes a lot of mythological and folkloric story-telling techniques, especially drawing on the natural world. It reads much like a parable, and I can't help but think that certain parts, especially the title, are direct biblical allusions.I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of the first half of this story. It seems disjointed and focused on setting up the atmosphere of the boys' Nigerian hometown, Akure, along with the transformation their family undergoes. But about halfway through something happens that triggers the events to come as well as brings together some elements from the beginning, and that propelled me to read the rest of the novel with fervor. I think Obioma, like Achebe and Adichie, has a strong voice and important things to say. As his debut novel, The Fishermen shows the literary prowess of someone far beyond his years. I was moved by the brotherhood these boys shared; I was torn by the grief that Benjamin, the narrator, undergoes; and I was filled with hope by the end of the novel. There is much to be mulled over in this novel. It's packed with motifs and themes that could keep you thinking for days. And I'm sure that the more I reflect on this novel, the more I will enjoy it.

  • Cheryl
    2018-11-17 07:35

    Some books need to be read aloud so that the texture comes across in sound. Chukwudi Iwuji did an excellent job of performing this book, at times changing his intonations to suit the mood, switching to Igbo or Yoruba accents, paying attention to words and dialect and meaning in sound. This was a joy to listen to on several three-hour car journeys. The past and present are beautifully intertwined in this story of brothers. Told from the retrospect of one brother who has just spent a few years as a minor in prison, this is a story of boys who come of age in an economically disadvantaged town in Nigeria. Their parents are determined to raise their four oldest sons to be professors, lawyers, or doctors, when a strange tragedy befalls their family. At the center of this tragedy is a mentally unstable man whose mental health is the result of traumatic brain injury from a car accident, a man who has no help from his community, and one who commits unspeakable crimes. Wrapped into this terrifying cocoon are the hopes and dreams of boys, the darkness of the spirit world, the tears from a mother's heart and a father's lost ambition. This story of 1990s Nigeria, which parallels the political climate of the time, is spellbinding and searing, visceral and unforgettable.

  • Emer
    2018-11-27 12:35

    “The things my brother read shaped him; they became his visions. He believed in them. I have now come to know that what one believes often becomes permanent, and what becomes permanent can be indestructible” When I looked at the list of nominees for the Man Booker Prize last year this was the book that jumped out at me. I was immediately intrigued by the premise and what I found on reading this book was a different kind of story-telling than I am used to… and I liked it!!The book tells the story of a family living in Akure, Nigeria in the early 1990s from the viewpoint of nine year old Benjamin, the fourth child, and in particular focuses on the relationships between each of the four eldest boys in the family. When their father has to move away for work and with their mother busy, these boys decide to start fishing in the forbidden Omi-Ala river in the hopes of catching fish to sell: Omi-Ala, “the source of dark rumours”. What happens at the river alters the lives of each of the boys and sets in motion a seemingly unstoppable destructive force.This book had an almost mythic quality to it. The chapters were laid out almost like fables and always began with a description of some sort.“Mother was a falconer: The one who stood on the hills and watched, trying to stave off whatever ill she perceived was coming to her children. She owned copies of our minds in the pockets of her own mind and so could easily sniff troubles early in their forming, the same way sailors discern the forming foetus of a coming storm”It made for a very smart plot device in my opinion. I felt the author was constantly weaving us into the world of this young boy and his brothers. For a story that focuses on the lives of young brothers this book was quite dark in its themes, there were never really any sunny moments and perhaps this is why it took me a little longer to read this than I expected. I did find myself putting it down from time to time and finding it a little hard to pick back up…but that is not a slight on the book. It is just the way I read. I am a very emotional reader and events in this book between the brothers affected me deeply. In fact, the book is all the better for its sombre tone. It felt both rich and deep. “Hatred is a leech: The thing that sticks to a person’s skin; that feeds off them and drains the sap out of one’s spirit. It changes a person, and does not leave until it has sucked the last drop of peace from them. It clings to one’s skin, the way a leech does, burrowing deeper and deeper into the epidermis, so that to pull the parasite off the skin is to tear out that part of the flesh, and to kill it is self-flagellating. People once used fire, a hot rod, and when they burned the leech, they left the skin singed” The writing style was wonderfully descriptive. Obioma paid great attention to detailing the world of Benjamin and his brothers and the characters they all met. Descriptions in the book, and an overriding religious theme, evoked a sense that something biblical was occurring. I found the book to be laden with theistic imagery which added a somewhat heaviness to what was happening. The idea of whether or not there are such things as prophecies, the exploration of rights, of wrongs, of vengeance, of brotherhood… Are there such people as this so-called mad man who are somehow linked to an other-worldly power and possess the knowledge of foresight? Or was this prophecy nothing more than the evil intent of a dangerous man? Can faith protect us from such evil? Is there such a thing as righteous vengeance? This book throws up a lot of spiritual questions that are left to the reader to ponder on and decide what is true for them. And all interspersed with the breakdown of family life and religious ideologies were references to the Nigerian political establishment at the time and to political unrest… it was actually very deftly handled, almost subtle and it added a grounding dimension to the story; myths and fables happily sitting alongside political on-goings.“Then we knew we were safe and had escaped the 1993 election uprising in which more than a hundred people were killed in Akure. June the 12th became a seminal day in the history of Nigeria. Every year, as this day approached, it seemed as if a band of a thousand invisible surgeons, armed to the teeth with knives, trephine, needles and extraordinary anaesthetic materials, came with the influx of the north wind and settled in Akure. Then at night-time, while the people slept, they would commit frantic, temporal lobotomy of their souls in quick painless snatches, and vanish at dawn before the effects of the surgeries began to show. The people would wake with bodies sodden with anxiety, hearts pulsating with fear, heads drooping with the memory of loss, eyes dripping with tears, lips gyrating in solemn prayers, and bodies trembling with fright. They would all become like blurred pencil portraits in a child’s wrinkled drawing book, waiting to be erased. In that grim condition, the city would retract inwards like a threatened snail.”This book left me confused at times… but really by that I mean by the strangeness of life. Of how a thought, someone else’s words could impact so greatly on the life of one family… I am still left pondering many questions that this story raised regarding faith and beliefs. It was such a different type of story than I am used to. It felt almost like a story that should be related orally rather than written and subsequently read. The writing was wonderful, the plot brilliantly woven and it all came together to create a memorable reading experience.four stars“On the other hand, I want you all to know that even though what you did was wrong, it reflected once again that you have the courage to indulge in something adventurous. Such adventurous spirit is the spirit of men. So, from now onwards, I want you all to channel that spirit into something more fruitful. I want you to be a different kind of fishermen… What I want you to be is a group of fishermen who will be fishers of good dreams, who will not relent until they have caught the biggest catch. I want you to be juggernauts, menacing and unstoppable fishermen.”-----------I'm so confused right now.... I definitely liked this book but at times my attention waned and I am struggling with how to rate it... But the writing was.... I don't have the right word right now. Let's go with good for the time being. Review and rating to come when I can gather my thoughts together

  • Helene Jeppesen
    2018-11-17 10:45

    For some reason, it took me a long time to finish this book even though it's relatively short. But when I did read in it, I loved it! I think I just needed to process it, because this is a really heavy story that, however, starts very abruptly and makes you question the purpose of this narrative in the beginning. The Fishermen are a bunch of brothers who live in Nigeria and who are very connected. They seem to really grow up over the course of one year, and what starts out as a bittersweet, amusing story becomes a tragic and divastating narrative. I definitely see why this novel was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, but something about this book made me not love it as much as I was hoping for. As stated earlier, I read it very slowly and wasn't really interested in picking it back up, but once I got into it I was fascinated. I'm happy that I've now read it, and I think that it speaks of a lot of truths and horrors that teenage boys can go through.

  • Erika
    2018-11-22 11:55

    This novel was selected for my book club, but I actually skipped the meeting since I didn’t want to heap negativity on other people who may have liked it. But here, no one is stuck in a room with me so I’ll let it rip.The Fishermen takes place in Nigeria in the mid-90s. It’s the story of four brothers in a small village who sneak out to the river—a place they are forbidden to go—and fish. One day, a terrifying, mentally ill man foretells that the oldest one will be killed by one of the others. The madman is known for his prophecies which are always horribly grim. The novels’ first half deals with the effect of the man’s prediction—it ruins the oldest brother and tears the family apart. The second half chronicles a series of events that transform the brothers’ lives. Sounds interesting, right? I thought so too and was excited to pick up The Fishermen. It won a slew of awards including being shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and most of the reviews on GRs were very positive.After finishing it though, I feel like I read the wrong book. Orioma clearly has talent. There is a mythic quality to his writing, and he does a great job capturing the relationships between the brothers as well as looking at the prediction itself. (view spoiler)[ Is it a self-fulfilling prophesy that only became inevitable when the madman spoke it?(hide spoiler)] This brings up the questions of how much of our lives occur because they are roadmapped by others. Who are those others and where does their power come from? Yet, I don't believe The Fishermen deserved its accolades. The themes are hopelessly muddied and inconsistent and much of the writing lacks control and maturity. Here are two sample passages.His eyes were bloodshot and his face pale, but there was an expression on it that was so indescribable, so beyond recognition—as my memory at the time could afford—that it became the face that I now mostly remember of him. and All we did for the rest of that evening was sing, the dying sun pitched in a corner of the sky as faint as a nipple on the chest of a teenage girl a distance away. Obioma has a habit of depicting the most important moments of the plot either in flashback or off-stage entirely, which robs the novel of much of its urgency. The dialogue feels stilted, the pacing jerky, the action awkward.Finally, I was left wondering what the book was really about. There’s plenty of religious symbolism, glimpses of Nigerian politics, some family dynamics and an exploration of mental illness, but nothing adds up or pays off. In an interview, Obioma was asked when he first had the impulse to write the book. Here is part of his answer: I have been looking for a way to capture… the situation in Nigeria: Why is it that Nigeria can’t progress? We have abundant oil, a strong elite educated class, a sizable youth population… Why are we still backwards as a people? The issue I think lies in the foundation itself. The distinct tribes, like Yoruba and Igbo, they are their own states. They used to have no contact and they progressed in their own way. But then a colonizing force came in and said, “Be a nation.” It is tantamount to the prophecy of a madman. Why are we subscribing to this British idea of a nation? Why can’t we decide for ourselves? What an interesting metaphor! For me, this short quote is cleaner and more controlled than anything The Fishermen has to offer.

  • Nnedi
    2018-12-14 10:27

    Oh yeah, definitely a must read. This was good good Igbo village storytelling. If anyone's work should be compared to Chinua Achebe, it's this one. But it's also got its own unique voice. There were times when it meandered a bit too much for my taste; sometimes there were details that felt included in order to pull the voice away from the point-of-view of a ten year old (these felt heavy-handed and often out of place)... but these moments didn't keep me from continuing. It's not a perfect novel (there is no such thing as a perfect novel), but it's a great first novel and it's the type of story that I love. Plus, I love a good tragedy. ;-) *Applause*.

  • Aditi
    2018-12-14 11:40

    “I have now come to know that what one believes often becomes permanent, and what become permanent can be indestructible.”----Chigozie ObiomaChigozie Obioma, an ward winning Nigerian writer, has penned a captivating and a spellbinding tale called, The Fishermen that revolves around four brothers living in a small town in Nigeria, who in the absence of their strict father, decide one day to go for fishing in the river that is supposed-to-be-cursed, later to sell their catch for good money, but when their mother comes to know about it, they could not avoid their father's harsh beatings and later the older brothers gets cursed by a local madman that he would be killed by one of his fishermen brothers, leading to a chain of disastrous events in the lives of the four brothers. Synopsis: In a Nigerian town in the mid 1990's, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family. Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family's destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions: economic, political, and religious; and with the epic beauty of its own culture. With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation's masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose. Akure is the small town where the four brothers, Ikenna, Boja, Obembe, and Benjamin, live with their parents and three other younger siblings. And Omi-Ala is the river, where these four brothers decide to go for fishing along with their friends and later sell their catch to earn money, in the absence of their strict father, and away from the prying eyes and ears of their conservative mother. Sadly their adventure with fishing comes to an abrupt end, when a nosy neighbor informs the mother of their four brother's fishing expedition at the cursed river of the town, that have carried death and blood since the Christian settlers have arrived in the town, as before that, people of Akure used to worship the river that brought them fortune and good health. After their father's awareness about the fishing expedition, the four brothers get brutal corporal punishment by their father. Right after the beating, the elder brother gets cursed by a local madman that he would be killed in the hands of his brother, thereby weakening the strong bond of brotherhood between the four boys. Who gradually walk on a downhill road to bad luck and bad fortune, followed by death, murder, grief and loss. The author is a genius who crafted a compelling tale featuring the Igbo people, an ethnic tribal group native to Nigeria, and their folk lore, culture, beliefs, superstitions and lifestyle in a very vivid manner, that brings them alive right before the eyes ofthe readers. Although the author has touched the political unrest drama in the back drop of the story line subtly, yet the readers can feel the political issues, fights, clashes thoroughly. The boy's faith and belief is shaken when the madman foretells a prophecy about the elder brother, whom the younger three brothers worship and depend like anything. Their modern mindset took a backseat when it came to superstitions and prophecies. Followed by a heart wrenching journey to downhill where their fate becomes their worst enemy.The author's writing style is superb, brilliant, evocative and deeply intense, that will not only intrigue the readers but will also move them by their hearts and souls. The narrative is engaging and enchanting enough to arrest the readers into the story's charm till the very end. Even though it is tragic and heart breaking story, yet somehow it will make the readers feel empowered and enlightened towards a lesser known ethnic tribe of people in Africa. The prose is lyrical and extremely exquisite enough to make the readers fall for the story with all their heart. The back drop of Akure, a Nigerian town, is strikingly portrayed into the story line. From the dusty roads to the small houses to the massive cursed river to the cheerful football fields to the controversial church to the rustic landscape, every thing is arrested vividly by the author into this book, thus bringing it visually imaginative for the readers. Even I felt myself getting teleportated to Akure while reading about the boys' adventure both with fishing as well as with revenge. Even the then culture and the lifestyle of the people, both native and colonialists are aptly capture into the story line. The characters are extremely well developed, thoroughly realistic and honest to their very core. The main character is the narrator of the book, who happens to be the youngest brother, a mere age of 9 years and the way he looks up to his elders brothers is really touching. His young voice is not only filled with metaphors and here-and-there light humor, but is also filled with subtle philosophy of life, that only made me fall for his character deeply. All the four brothers, sharing the same blood, yet have different personality and beliefs and that made them go against one another's ideas, ultimately leading them to downfall. The rest of the characters of the brothers as well as of the parents and of the madman is portrayed with depth and backstory that is enough to leave a mark in the minds of the readers long after the story has ended. In a nutshell, this is a mesmerizing yet a poignant African tribal tale deep with family love, siblings rivalry and superstitions besides political turnout and fallout of those times.Verdict:A must read book, strongly recommended!Courtesy:Thanks to my younger brother for the lovely gift that contained this book.

  • Jen Campbell
    2018-12-06 10:39

    Video review to follow :)

  • somuchreading
    2018-11-16 13:35

    Με τους Ψαράδες ήμουν περίεργος. Ήμουν περίεργος από την πρώτη στιγμή που άκουσα για το βιβλίο, πριν δω πως ήταν υποψήφιο για τα Man Booker Prize και Guardian First Book Award, πριν μάθω πως θα κυκλοφορούσε σύντομα από το Μεταίχμιο και πριν το βρω σε πολλές από τις λίστες με τα καλύτερα βιβλία του 2015 που ήδη κυκλοφορούν.Το μυθιστόρημα είναι ένα απλό, εύκολο ανάγνωσμα ενός νεαρού συγγραφέα. Παραμύθια, θρύλοι και παραδόσεις της Νιγηρίας δανείζουν στοιχεία τους σε μια τραγική ιστορία που στην αρχή της δε μοιάζει καθόλου με τέτοια. Στα πρώτα κεφάλαιά του το βιβλίο βρίσκει πολύ αργά ρυθμό, αλλά από όταν αυτό επιτυγχάνεται, η αφήγηση κορυφώνεται σε ένα κρεσέντο δυνατών στιγμών.Παρόλο όμως το δράμα του Ικένα, του Μπότζα, του Ομπέμπε και του Μπέν, με τον τελευταίο να είναι και ο αφηγητής του Obioma, η ιστορία απέτυχε να συγκινήσει κάποιον ξεκάθαρα ευσυγκίνητο όπως εγώ. Ίσως σε αυτό να έπαιξαν ρόλο και κομμάτια των διαλόγων των χαρακτήρων που, και εδώ σοβαρολογώ απόλυτα, μου θύμισαν σε σημεία τους διαλόγους του Φώσκολου. Δεν είμαι όμως απόλυτα σίγουρος πως γι' αυτό φταίει ο συγγραφέας και όχι η μετάφραση.Η εικόνα της Νιγηρίας στα 90s παρότι αποσπασματική συμπληρώνει τίμια την κύρια ιστορία, μια ανθρωποκεντρική, σκοτεινή ιστορία για το πεπρωμένο, από το στόμα ενός παιδιού κι ενός ενήλικα, του ίδιου ανθρώπου, ταυτόχρονα.Με τους Ψαράδες εξακολουθώ να είμαι περίεργος. Θέλω να δω πως θα ανταποκριθεί απέναντί τους το αναγνωστικό κοινό της χώρας μας, που δεν έχει συνηθίσει ιδιαίτερα να διαβάζει ιστορίες από την καρδιά της Αφρικής. Αν είστε περίεργοι [και θα έπρεπε να είστε], για το τι βγάζει η Αφρικανική λογοτεχνία τα τελευταία χρόνια, νομίζω πως οι Ψαράδες είναι ένα από τα έργα που θα ήταν καλό να έχετε στις αγοραστικές σας προτεραιότητες.Από εμένα έχει ένα καθαρό και άνετο 3,5*/5 που μεταφράζεται στα 3*/5 εδώ στο Goodreads.

  • Chrissie
    2018-11-21 11:28

    After chapter 10:The Fishermen is a difficult read. I had been warned but didn't take the warning seriously. Stupid me. What is described is revolting - vomit, excrement, penises, rivers of blood. Sex, mystical beliefs, political riots - all in a jumble. Maybe this is what modern authors write nowadays given that we live in a world of such violence. There better be a good point to the book for presenting such content. Disjointed and confusing, but from time to time there is a beautiful sentence that you marvel over. ********************* My review on completion:What this book does well is shake up readers, we the “haves”, to the life of the “have-nots”. The book is not set long ago. It is set in Nigeria of the 1990s, 1996 to be exact. It concludes in 2003.It is also about retribution. Should one personally avenge crimes done to family members? The book follows one poor, but aspiring Nigerian family. They live in Akure, which according to Wiki is in south-western Nigeria and is the largest city and capital of Ondo State. It is referred to as a town in the novel. The family is tightly knit, particularly the four eldest siblings, four boys - Ikenna 15, Boja 14, Obembe 11 and Benjamin 9. The story focuses upon them, their relationship with each other and what happens when they meet up with a madman who makes a prediction, places a curse on them. Benjamin tells the story twenty years later. It all starts when their father gets a job far away and refuses to take the family with him; he says that life there is too dangerous! He returns home only every other weekend. With the departure of their disciplinarian father the boys must make decisions on their own. Look at their ages and take one guess what happens. The madman is not only delusional, rapes women and runs around naked but is seriously dangerous. There is no political or civil order in this small town. I am not so sure the violence had to be depicted with such detail. Only the brothers’ love for each other weighs against the violence of the novel. The audiobook narration was absolutely perfect. Horrible events are read levelly without over-dramatization. The words speak for themselves. The narrator is Chukwudi Wuji, an African of course.

  • Jessica Woodbury
    2018-12-14 08:44

    I heard raves about this book for months before I finally got to it. And despite having heard so much about it, I knew pretty much nothing except the setup. No one told me what came next. Which, admittedly, is how I prefer it. But it's worth noting at this point that this is a book that would be the most heartwrenching of the year were it not for the fact that A Little Life was also a 2015 release. If you're one of those people who can't read novels where bad things happen to children (and I know there are many of you out there) you should give this one a hard pass.The sad and difficult things that happen in this book are even harder given how sweet the first third or so is. After that it gets seriously Shakespearean. I had such a pit of dread in my stomach that I found myself occasionally tuning out because I wasn't sure I was ready for another bad thing to happen and I was sure one would. But with all that said, it's an astounding book. Beautiful, visceral, and deeply emotional. A book I won't forget any time soon. It's also a good choice for audio, I tend to lean that way when I'm reading a book set in another country so I can get the lilt of the language and the reader here is excellent.

  • Richard
    2018-12-02 10:56

    This elegant coming-of-age novel is told from the point of view of Benjamin Agwu, a 10-year old boy growing up in the small Nigerian village of Akure. He bears witness to the breakdown of his family and his three older brothers Ikenna, Boja, and Obembe, after an encounter with Abulu the Madman, who's foreboding prophecy changes everything.Debut author Chigozie Obioma shows true talent with imagery and smooth prose, giving the story a storybook, fable quality which Lends weight to the retrospective element of the novel. The book's biggest strength is the way it illustrates the characters almost immediately, really giving us a portrait of a genuine family and the dynamics between the brothers and the parents. The parents were especially compelling. When things go wrong, I immediately sympathized because I felt so familiar with these people and the community that surrounds them. Another thing that really works and that actually surprised me was the novel's historical aspect, where Obioma weaves in bits of Nigerian history in the 90's as a framework for the story. It's really interesting how the breakdown of the Agwu family parallels the change in their village and the political change in Nigeria in general. Although the pacing could've been a little more concise (it took me longer than I expected to finish), I was charmed by the characters, the lovely ending, and enjoyed the book as a whole."I want you all to know that even though what you did was wrong, it reflected once again that you have the courage to indulge in something adventurous. Such adventurous spirit is the spirit of men. So from now onwards, I want you all to channel that spirit into something more fruitful... What I want you to be is a group of fishermen who will be fishers of good dreams, who will not relentuntil they have caught the biggest catch. I want you to be juggernauts, menacing and unstoppable fishermen."

  • Barbara
    2018-11-30 12:35

    I won this book in a goodreads.com giveaway...thank you!This was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Kirkus Reviews described it best: "The talented Obioma exhibits a richly nuanced understanding of culture and character.... A powerful, haunting tale of grief, healing, and sibling loyalty."I used my hands to turn the pages but then my heart took over and I was totally engrossed in this incredible book and I don't think I will ever forget Ikenna, Boja, Obe, or Ben. I highly recommend this intense and mythical novel. Thank you Chigozie Obioma!!!

  • ·Karen·
    2018-11-17 12:27

    The things my brother read shaped him; they became his visions. He believed in them. I have now come to know that what one believes often becomes permanent, and what becomes permanent can be indestructible.And it's not just Obembe. There's nary a one in the characters here who does not have the habit of mind of a believer: almost every one of them takes for granted that the supernatural is an integral part of daily life, a force to be propitiated and appeased, enjoined and coerced, exalted and acclaimed, courted and petitioned, but most of all feared. A maelstrom of beliefs that swirl and eddy and wash over this family. Omi-Ala, the river in which the fishermen cast their lines, was once worshipped as a god. The boys seem to sense that their fishing is of great import to some force or other, for they feel the need to celebrate a catch with a hymn-like salute. The lyrics of their song are taken from a ditty performed by the main character of the most popular Christian soap at the time The Ultimate Power.We replaced her testimony to God's ability to hold her up against the power of Satan's temptations with our ability to hold the fish firm once caught and not let it escape.The Celestial Church's believers worship water spirits. Abulu, the local madman, is generally accepted as an intermediary between two domains, able to prophesy the future. The more conventional Church proclaims him to be the devil incarnate, demon-possessed and as such to be refuted by the greater magic power of the congregation's prayers. The boys' mother believes both in the Ultimate Power of her Christian god and in her own chi, she believes in the power of a father to keep sons in order, the power of dreams as prescience, the power of various creatures as embodiments of cosmic displeasure or good will. Their father believes in the transformative power of education, in the transformative power of Nnamdi Azikiwe and in the regenerative power of a house full of children. The boys themselves believe in Superman and Chuck Norris, in football and in M.K.O. Abiola. But ultimately, and tragically, they believe that Abulu's ravings are the product not of an unhinged mind, but of a force that sets out an ineluctable destiny, as futile to resist as at any time in the history of poor worldly creatures who have attracted the wrath of the gods. Man's ineluctable tragedy is his persistent desire to explain the world to himself by reference to creatures from a different realm. Magical thinking, magical thinking. Of course, things fall apart. Inevitably. As they will, until people start to look for true (human) causes of events rather than ascribing them to numinous beings. The narrative here is episodic, fractured, full of gaps and ellipses. An interesting technique that encourages that very habit of mind: build a picture before you have all the facts. Caught you. See, we all do it.

  • David Dacosta
    2018-11-19 13:53

    Chigozie Obioma is another in a long line of talented African writers. As a fellow author, the artistry of his phrasing had me pondering how many rewrites it must have taken him to produce this stylized final product. The Fishermen skillfully examines the delicate dynamics of an African family living in Nigeria during the 1990s. Benjamin, the fourth of six children, narrates the story. His once stable household suddenly begins to unravel when his father must relocate to a distant township to secure work, leaving his mother with mounting responsibility. Benjamin’s father continues to uphold his financial duties, but his abrupt weekend visits begin to create a chasm between he and his family.Obioma’s experimentation with metaphors, earns him some points for originality, other times he misses the mark completely. – “…the congested mass of humanity seethed like a tribe of maggots” Unique. And then “…the passion we’d developed for fishing had become like liquid frozen in a bottle and could not be easily thawed.” Flat. Although I firmly believe that the written word is an art form, it is possible for writers to overdo it occasionally. Culturally, Obioma paints a three dimensional portrait of Nigeria, socially and politically. His inclusion of both the Yoruban and Igbo tongue further enriches the authenticity of the experience. I’ve read my share of books by African authors and I don’t recall this type of emphasis on language. African and Caribbean authors often downplay or omit these linguistic details as a means of achieving a form of literary assimilation to reach a broader audience. Kudos to Obioma for resisting this common approach. As The Fishermen progressed I found myself becoming more and more frustrated by its setup. In the absence of the father, his teenage sons begin to go astray. Then to make matters worse, when the father’s presence is most needed, we learn that he is in Ghana for three months for mandatory job training. From that point, the story plunges into a spiritually murky place, complete with a village madman and sibling rivalry, which caused me to lose interest and pause reading for days at a time. Despite the well-crafted wording, the final ninety or so pages of the book dragged on, reminding me of the fact that good writing and good storytelling are two separate disciplines.

  • Liz Janet
    2018-12-01 12:53

    A story about a Nigerian family in the 1990s, as it gets plagued by the "prophesy" of a madman about the death of a brother at the hands of another, which ultimately leads to the demise of their bond and much more. I see this work as a myth, one of those that have yet to find the form they truly are and must first be shaped by the many voices that spread via word of mouth. Apart from the obvious biblical vibe I got reading this, it also felt a bit like Chinua Achebe. I know, I know, I cannot compare a newcomer to the incredible author that Achebe is, however the storytelling was very representative of the oral tradition used by Achebe when uniting folklore and parable. (Yet I do not believe he is the "heir to Chinua Achebe" as some have stated, Achebe is Achebe and I do not believe it will be easy to pave the road after him). I have nothing else to say right now, I think I will have to take a while to analyze this. “English, although the official language of Nigeria, was a formal language with which strangers and non-relatives addressed you. It had the potency of digging craters between you and your friends or relatives if one of you switched to using it. So, our parents hardly spoke English, except in moments like this, when the words were intended to pull the ground from beneath our feet.”

  • Faith
    2018-11-25 09:52

    I liked this book less the more I read. A normal middle class Nigerian family, without any seeming problems, suddenly becomes unhinged after the father moves to another city to work. His family cannot go with him because the new city is not safe, but he returns to the family every two weeks. Nonetheless, in a few weeks the family completely falls apart. The four older boys defy and test their mother, behave irrationally and succumb to superstition. Then things get worse. Ultimately two of the six children set in place an unfortunate plan that seemed unrealistic for a 9 year old. Every once in a while politics was strangely interjected in this book, but mostly this was a depressing book about an unconvincing family. Again, award contenders puzzle me, however I would be willing to read another book by this author.

  • Columbus
    2018-11-19 06:39

    Chigozie Obioma has written an incredible, simply remarkable book about family, love, religion and much, much more. It's hard to believe this Man Booker Longlist nominee is a debut novelist with his writing skills. Nigeria has a long list of über-talented writers and Obioma, with this book, has nudged his way to the top of the list with Adichie and some others. I loved how each chapter title included either a related proverb, quote by a novelist or poet, or pertinent to one of the characters: The Metamorphosis:Ikenna was undergoing a metamorphosis: A life-changing experience that continued with each passing day. I also thought the lead narrator, Ben, is simply one of the finest young narrators I've encountered in quite some time. You really root for him.My only complaint is that the writer stayed a little too long on certain scenes and regurgitated a little too much when he should have just moved on. But, that did not detract from the story too much.The exquisite writing in this book often reminded me of the writing in Ishmael Beah's poetically-beautiful Radiance of Tomorrow. Metaphors run amuck but sublime in every sense of the imagination. This dude can write! Please. Read. This. Book! 4.5 stars!

  • Ken
    2018-11-28 07:38

    In this astonishing masterpiece from a globe-trotting Nigerian writer whom I first heard about many years ago on a visit to the Turkish section of Cyprus Island. It begins with perhaps the most convincing punchline in modern literature: "We were fishermen." With that sentence, which at once introduces the reader to the world about to be experienced and also portends the tragedy to come, The Fishermen spins its tale like the webs do in one of the chapters "The Spiders."The spin begins with the father of the children, 4 young boys, leave town for Tola in Nigeria's troubled Islamic north. With the boys now free, they become fishermen at a river where, one evening, the day "the end of our peace was initiated," they encounter the madman, Abulu. With shocking unfolding of events, powerful portraits of a disintegrating family, the madman's prophecy of violence comes to fulfillment. Brilliant in its evocation of Nigerian history and landscape, powerful in its roiling investigation of what holds a family together and what can tear it apart, this book is destined for great things, amongst which, I hope, will be this year's Booker prize.

  • Sophie
    2018-12-02 08:31

    Η παραμυθιακή διάσταση και το αναπότρεπτο στοιχείο της τραγωδίας κυριαρχούν, ενώ η γραφή, γλαφυρή και απλή, ζωντανεύει τα τεκταινόμενα, μεταφέρει τον αναγνώστη στη Νιγηρία του 1990· στη Νιγηρία που ισορροπεί ανάμεσα στο ιδανικό του δυτικού πολιτισμού και στην κουλτούρα των αφρικανικών φυλών.Παρότι δε δίνεται ιδιαίτερη υπόσταση στους χαρακτήρες, που επιδερμικά αναλύονται, με αποτέλεσμα να συμπάσχει ο αναγνώστης μόνο μέσω προβολής του εαυτού του, και παρόλο που δε μοιάζουν αληθινοί, άλλος ένας δείκτης παραμυθιακής αφήγησης, το θέμα της προφητείας, του αναπόδραστου της μοίρας όταν αυτή δοθεί ως χρησμός, παρουσιάζεται ως καταλύτης με άρτιο τρόπο, μαγεύοντας και αποτελώντας την κύρια αρετή του κειμένου. Η δράση κι όχι ο ίδιος ο άνθρωπος έχει κεντρική θέση στο συγκεκριμένο έργο, η ψυχογράφηση περνά σε δεύτερη μοίρα, τα γεγονότα, τα οποία συμβαίνουν με τη μορφή φαινομένου ντόμινο, καθοδηγούν εκείνα τους ήρωες, που άβουλοι, ή καλύτερα αδύναμοι δεν επιλέγουν να πάνε αντίθετα στις επιταγές της δήθεν προδιαγεγραμμένης τους πορείας.

  • Rebecca Foster
    2018-11-26 13:53

    From a young Nigerian debut novelist comes a haunting tale of sibling rivalry and revenge. With sectarian riots afoot, the four oldest Agwu boys decide to make money by skipping school and fishing in the Omi-Ala River. Things get more complicated when Abulu, the local madman, issues a prophecy that seems bound to divide the brothers. The first quarter of the novel, especially, is drenched in foreshadowing (not always subtle, nor do the plot turns often rise above the predictable). Rich with prophecy and allusions, this owes much to biblical narratives and tragedies from Shakespeare to Chinua Achebe.Full review in May 2015 issue of Third Way magazine.

  • Jessica
    2018-11-28 12:34

    I haven’t been the most active of reviewers lately because I’ve been planning a wedding and honeymoon, received a promotion that meant working both jobs until a new “old me” is hired, and I haven’t read anything that has grabbed me with the kind of intensity that I need to sit down in spite of all that other stuff and tell people they have to read it. But now I’m trying to get back into the swing of things here. Forgive me if I'm a bit rusty.Rooted very deeply in African folk stories, The Fishermen is about four brothers in Nigeria who have an encounter with a madman whose prophesies are known to have wide-sweeping repercussions. The boys deal with the fallout of the madman’s latest prophecy against the backdrop of a turbulent political atmosphere and the very specific mores of a small town in 1990s Nigeria. Narrated by nine-year-old Benjamin, the book is a cultural examination of destiny, obligation, and sibling rivalry.It took a long time for this book to get going, in my opinion. There was not a lot of action in the beginning and I found myself struggling to focus. I think that may have been compounded by the fact that the prophecy was revealed in the dust jacket, but not until perhaps a third of the way through the book. But once things kicked into gear, though, I very much wanted to know what was going to happen. I was not a particularly big fan of Obioma’s writing style – which could sometimes feel a little repetitive in its use of symbolism – but I’m willing to chalk that up to a cultural difference that I just didn’t “get.” I did, however, enjoy his use of flashbacks woven into the narrative to flesh out the reader’s understanding of the brothers’ relationships. I do wish I knew a little more about the political history that the brothers found themselves swept up in, as that may have given the story even greater resonance? It seems very clear to me that Obioma was trying to pay homage to Chinua Achebe and Things Fall Apart in particular. The brothers even discuss Okonkwo while debating what they should do about the madman’s prophecy. With that in mind, I don’t think The Fishermen has quite as far-ranging a reach as other Nigerian novelists I’ve read lately (Adichie can cross boundaries like nobody’s business, as far as I’m concerned). I do think that this was, for the most part, well-done and that it will have a great deal to offer to readers who have an interest in or a knowledge of Nigerian culture and African folklore. I liked this book, but I ultimately felt like perhaps I didn’t “get” it enough to leave me raving about it as much as I would have hoped for.

  • Alex
    2018-12-17 10:37

    Nigeria is a hotbed of literature: Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe are from there, as well as recent hotshots like Chimamanda Adichie and now Chigozie Obioma, whose debut novel The Fishermen was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. And for good reason: it's brilliant.It tells the story of four brothers who battle fate, or a crazy guy, or Western influence - in an interview Obioma calls the book in part metaphorical, mad "prophet" Abulu representing outsider predictions of what young Nigeria will come to. (The critic Fredric Jameson argues that "All third-world texts are necessarily allegorical.") Abulu predicts death for the oldest son, Ikenna. The brothers deal with that prophecy in different ways. In order of descending age: 15- year-old Ikenna who "nailed small things to big crosses" (view spoiler)[believes it; (hide spoiler)]14-yo Boja (view spoiler)[succumbs to it;(hide spoiler)]Obembe (11) and our narrator Ben (9) (view spoiler)[fight it, murdering Abulu, with Obembe fleeing afterwards and Ben imprisoned.(hide spoiler)]The father is largely absent, the mother (view spoiler)[consumed by spiders.(hide spoiler)]The two youngest children, David (3) and Nkem (1), are egrets in Obioma's allegorical telling; (view spoiler)[they more or less miss the turmoil and maybe they'll be okay. (hide spoiler)]The plot is solid and interesting; the ending is perfect.Obioma's use of figures of speech is terrific, entirely unique. I don't know for sure whether it's him or Nigeria coming up with these sentences I've never heard before, but wherever he got stuff like "The dying sun pitched in a corner of the sky as faint as a nipple on the chest of a teenage girl," I'll take it. There are elements of magical realism; Abulu at times seems to have real prophetic power.There's a quote at the beginning of one chapter: "Those the gods have chosen to destroy, they inflict with madness." It's tagged as an Igbo proverb, but it's originally from Euripides*. We're all working off the same traditions here. This is a terrific addition.* Wikiquote says it's commonly misattributed to Euripides and it's actually some dude named Publilius Syrus. Whatever.

  • Petra
    2018-11-22 13:53

    A really good debut novel. A wonderful story of country, family, bonds and togetherness. At first, I was skeptical....but then I was completely sucked in. The tragedies of this family, interwoven with the difficulties of the country, came together in a touching, haunting, mystical yet realistic manner. This is a country sitting on the edge of modernization, with all it's uncertainties, clinging to the past and the excitement at moving forward. Chigozie Obiama managed to instill all of these elements into one family's life, telling it through the eyes of a 9-year old boy. Throughout, the remaining family faces the future together and looks forward, just as the country faces the future with its people.Wonderfully told. I look forward to more works by this author.