The first review of Chigozie Obioma's An Orchestra of Minorities is here!
After his hooking debut, The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma is back with his sophomore novel which already has people talking.
Chigozie Obioma is the author of The Fishermen, the intriguing coming-of-age tale of four brothers in 1990s Akure. The novel introduced the world to Obioma's ability to tell ordinary stories in an epic way — stories that leave his readers mulling over for days.
Earlier this year, he announced the coming of his second novel, An Orchestra of Minorities, published by Little, Brown. Described by its publishers as “an epic of Igbo civilisation”, the novel is narrated by the protagonist’s chi, his guardian spirit/god in Igbo cosmology.
This delicious synopsis was delivered in January to the ears of excited fans, who have been eager to read another of Obioma's intricately-spun tales. Now, the first review of the novel has been released on Publishers weekly, and it gives a bit of a glimpse into what to expect:
"Set in Umuahia, Nigeria, Man Booker finalist Obioma’s unforgettable second novel (after The Fishermen) follows the saga of Chinonso, a young and doomed poultry farmer. The story is narrated by Chinonso’s chi, the guardian spirit that bridges humans and the divine in Igbo cosmology; this narrator functions as both advocate and Greek chorus in the tragedy that unfolds.
Orphaned and broken by his father’s death, Chinonso spends his life in isolation caring for his beloved chickens, until he sees a woman preparing to jump to her death off a bridge. She turns out to be Ndali, the daughter of a prominent local family. Suicidal in the wake of a broken engagement, Ndali is drawn to Chinonso’s fierce protectiveness of his flock, seeing in him a steadiness and resoluteness of character, but she’s blind to the anger and sorrow at his core. The two quickly fall in love, despite her family’s mounting objections. In a bid to win their approval, Chinonso takes up an old acquaintance on the offer of university education in Cyprus, selling his family’s property and possessions to pay for it. The con is painful and clear as day; Chinonso is robbed blind and left stranded in an alien land. After he meets a sympathetic nurse, a moment of violence lands Chinonso in jail, where he must bide his time—still burning with a violent determination to reclaim the life he lost and punish those responsible.
Obioma’s novel is electrifying, a meticulously crafted character drama told with emotional intensity. His invention, combining Igbo folklore and Greek tragedy in the context of modern Nigeria, makes for a rich, enchanting experience. (Jan.)"
The debut that hooked the world
Set in the 1990s, The Fishermen is a coming of age debut that follows the lives of four brothers in Akure, Nigeria. The novel received accolades and praise from The Guardian and the New York Times, as well as numerous highly-acclaimed awards.
Since its initial publication 2015 by Pushkin Press, Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermenhas been translated into over 25 national languages. It has became one of Africa’s most awarded debuts. It won the 2015 FT/Oppenheimer Emerging Voices Award for Fiction, the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize’s Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Debut Author).
In addition to all the awards, it was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, the 2015 Guardian First Book Award, and the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, as well as the longlists for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature and the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize.
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