A striking debut novel about an unforgettable childhood, by a Nigerian writer the New York Times has crowned "the heir to Chinua Achebe."
Told by nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, THE FISHERMEN is the Cain and Abel-esque story of a childhood in Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they meet a 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 the book's characters and readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, THE FISHERMEN is an essential novel about Africa, seen through the prism of one family's destiny.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The Fishermen is the kind of novel that sinks its claws into your imagination and unearths powerful emotions like sorrow, dread and wonder. Nigerian-born author Chigozie Obioma, a literature and creative writing professor in the U.S., is a magical storyteller. The sights, sounds and smells of Obioma's hometown, Azure, tumble off the pages, providing the backdrop for a family drama that packs the wallop of a Greek tragedy. We were completely absorbed by the story of nine-year-old Benjamin and his three older brothers—and the ominous prophecy that threatens to tear them apart.
Seamlessly interweaving the everyday and the elemental, Obioma's strange, imaginative debut the translation rights to which have been sold in 12 countries probes the nature of belief and the power of family bonds. Set in 1990s Nigeria, it is narrated by Benjamin Agwu, who is nine when his father departs for a distant banking job, leaving his wife and six children behind in the village of Akure. Despite stern admonitions, the four oldest brothers soon test their mother's discipline. Their worst transgression is to fish in the Omi-Ala, a once-pure river that has become dirty and dangerous. There they encounter a mentally ill man named Abulu, who is locally believed to have powers of prophecy. Inexplicably, Abulu knows the eldest Agwu brother, Ikenna, by name. In a trance, he foretells the teenager's death in detail, adding that it will be at "the hands of a fisherman." Convinced that one of his brothers will kill him, Ikenna is enraged and destructive, isolating himself and throwing his home into chaos; ultimately, not just Ikenna but the whole family will be transformed by the power of Abulu's words. Obioma excels at juxtaposing sharp observation, rich images of the natural world, and motifs from biblical and tribal lore; his novel succeeds as a convincing modern narrative and as a majestic reimagining of timeless folklore.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Beautiful!!! This book went 0 - 100 but it was a warm feeling at the end to soothe the cold grip of tragedies in the book. You need to read it!
Difficult to follow
This book is all over the place and hard to follow. Writing is mediocre. Got about 15% of the way through and stopped.
The first half of this novel is very slow going. The second half reads better but it is also very melodramatic.