The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
Have you ever read a debut novel by an author and saw in stunning clarity the respect and awards in that author's future? Chigozie Obioma's first novel gave me that vision from the first paragraph. There is no doubt in my heart that this author will change the face of modern literature and, even more importantly, will educate the rest of the world on his own corner of the world and the social and political climate there. Obioma writes with an empathy for every single one of his characters that is both startling in it's application and it's ability to foreshadow each character's fate. I was gutted and eventually repaired by each character's tale as it unfolded.
This book will be released on April 15th and I highly recommend you hand Mr. Obioma your dollars with no questions asked. This is a story that will stay with you for a long time, each time you contemplate the nature of fate and the force of free will we each possess.
P.S. In looking into his biography, I realized that the author is 5 years younger than me annnnnnd it makes me feel that I've clearly failed at life. This man has created something so lasting and beautiful... while I've been trying to knit the same toddler-sized scarf for Lorelai for the past month.
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 Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990's 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 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.
*Note: This advanced reading copy was given to me by the publisher, Little, Brown & Company. All opinions expressed in this review are wholly my own. Bear Allen cannot be bought! *