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Book 98: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

Book 98: The Fishermen.
Author: Chigozie Obioma, 2015.
Genre: Period Fiction. Africa. Family Drama.
Other Details: ebook. 304 pages.

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. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This was a well written, powerful tale of four brothers growing up in 1990s Nigeria. It is quite a tragic story though not devoid of hope and redemption.

While the novel is set almost entirely in the home town of the brothers it does encompass universal themes. It also explores the tension between the traditions of Nigeria and Christianity. In this it reminded me a little of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus, which was also a highly acclaimed Nigerian début novel.

This was a contender for my second favourite for its ability to transport me to another culture along with the themes. The novel certainly was was the focus for a great deal of discussion in our Man Booker Shadowing Readers' Group as some of the aspects stirred quite strong responses.
Tags: africa, literary, period fiction (20th century)
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