In the oil-rich and environmentally devastated Nigerian Delta, a British oil executive's wife has been kidnapped. Two journalists - a young upstart, Rufus, and a once-great, now disillusioned veteran, Zaq - are sent to find her.
In a story rich with atmosphere and taut with suspense, Oil on Water explores the conflict between idealism and cynical disillusionment in a journey full of danger and unintended consequences. As Rufus and Zaq navigate polluted rivers flanked by exploded and dormant oil wells, they must contend with the brutality of both government soldiers and militants. Assailed by irresolvable versions of the "truth" about the woman's disappearance, dependent on the kindness of strangers of unknowable loyalties, their journalistic objectivity will prove unsustainable, but other values might yet salvage their human dignity.
"A cinematic adventure and a remarkably tense race against the clock…rendered with insight and sensitivity, but also an unsparing sense of irony; indeed, it’s a credit to Habila’s storytelling that his mournful vision of the world never eclipses its fragile beauty, or its humanity." (Publishers Weekly)
"In a beautiful, almost cinematic style, Habila moves back and forth in time to tell a story swathed in the cynicism of modern global development and the mysteries of human longing." (Booklist)
"[R]eaders will find much to appreciate here." (Library Journal)
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Entertaining and Timely