Maryam, December 5, 2006 (view all comments by Maryam)
I've used this in a college level course that addresses African literature, and students have had very powerful responses to Okri's work. While some have passionately hated it, most have found it magical and deeply rich. Okri does expect a reader to come to the table with wit and attention, but isn't too much to ask most of the time. I don't think you can consider yourself versed in African literature without including Okri in your reading.
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Laurie Blum, December 1, 2006 (view all comments by Laurie Blum)
All five characters in this novel along with their creative narration can be classified as magical! The Famished Road is the Booker Prize-winning novel written by Nigerian author Ben Okri & you should not miss it! The book, written in 1991, follows Azaro, an abiku or spirit child, living in the Nigerian city of Lagos on the eve of independence. Order it today - perfect holiday gifts for the sophisticated readers on your list.
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hmarchand, November 29, 2006 (view all comments by hmarchand)
It's been said that One Hundred Years of Solitude should be required reading for every human being; if I were to make a list of such required reads, I'd go along with that, and I would include The Famished Road on the list as well.
What Ben Okri achieves in this novel is simply astonishing. The very nature of reality, and particularly of the relationship between flesh and spirit, is iridescently transformed, and there may never have been a more masterly demonstration of the necessity of opposites: love is strong as hate is strong, tenderness overwhelms in the presence of cruelty, life is life because death is death (except in the case of the spirit children, who are born and die and are born again into the pain and the joy of the world).
The Famished Road is truly a glorious work of literary art, focused intently on a small central cast of vividly imagined and indelibly created characters but so broad and surprising in scope that it astounds. It is an exhilarating, fascinating and delightful experience to read this book. What more could be asked of any novel?
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