In a Nigerian town in the mid-1990s, 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 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 listeners. 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.
"Obioma's remarkable fiction is at once urgently, vividly immediate, yet simultaneously charged with the elemental power of myth." (Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl)
"Obioma writes with gorgeous restraint reminiscent of the intricate prose in a Tolstoy novella. Every sentence delivers a precise and heartfelt blow. Hardly anyone writing today is delivering this level of intricacy, lyricism, and control. Add to that, the urgency and importance of his message. It just doesn't get better than this. Get used to the name: Obioma is here to stay." (Alexandra Fuller, author of Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness)
"Awesome in the true sense of the word: crackling with life, freighted with death, vertiginous both in its style and in the elemental power of its story. Few novels deserve to be called 'mythic', but Chigozie Obioma's The Fishermen is certainly one of them. A truly magnificent debut." (Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries [Man Booker Prize])
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Beautifully written, heart-wringing tale
This is a lovely book, sad and funny (more sad than funny), but so spirited and passionate. I felt totally involved in the lives of the characters. The author's use of language is just exquisite and the narrator's reading of it is perfect. Highly recommended.
I couldn't stop listening, trapped by the amazing narration of the writer. The job well done by the reader.
- Lanre A.