The Fishermen – Chigozie Obioma

51ff03c099d70dff0a4579640ed9909aREAD FOR BOOKERTHON

Four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family.

❍ Four middle-class Nigerian brothers with a proud and strict father decide to sneak out of the house one day to go fishing. They do this each day during their father’s absence, hiding evidence from their mother. One day at the river they meet a local madman who prohesises that the eldest boy will be killed by one of his brothers, “the fisherman”. This prophecy unleashes a tragic chain of events onto the family.

Listen, days decay, like food, like fish, like dead bodies. This night will decay, too and you will forget. Listen, we will forget.

❍ “This is a powerful account of four brothers, their run in with the local madman, and the moral and social choices they make as a result of his omen hanging over their heads.

Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a well-constructed combination of contemporary fiction, of mythological beliefs and ancient storytelling, and a Nigerian history lesson. This immense structure does not impede the pace or readability however, in fact it provides a perfect riverbed for the desired flow and for the twists and turns of the plot.

The brothers are definitively built characters, each with their own presence and impact. They draw you into their lives within a few pages, and quickly their passions and woes become yours. Set amongst vivid and memorable African settings, this is truly a work of art.” – Rachel

❍ “After reading the longlisted Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy recently I was left with that feeling you get when a book doesn’t quench your reading thirst – you are left wanting more, but not in a good way.  The Fishermen however is a perfectly full and satisfying, well-rounded story and I loved it.

Writing a book from the perspective of a child surely adds another layer of difficulty for a writer.  It’s what left unsaid in this story that I found the most troubling. It allows the reader to come up with their own interpretation of major events and in this novel this is done subtly but powerfully.

Rather embarrassingly the sum total of my knowledge of Nigerian politics to date has come from both Half of a Yellow Sun and Amerincanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and now I can add The Fishermen to that list.  Hmmm, I think it’s probably time to look for some non-fiction information about the situation there.

I’m really looking forward to reading more of Chigozie Obioma’s work as the years go by.” – Suzy


Published 2015
Little, Brown & Co
297 pages

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