The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma Took My Breath Away

The novel “The Fishermen” by Chigozie Obioma is set in the 1990s in Akure, a small town in Nigeria, and centers on four brothers who commit to fishing at the forbidden and cursed Omi-Ala River. Abulu, the madman, speaks a prophesy that in the end, leads to grief, healing, and redemption. Benjamin, the youngest, narrates the foreshadowing that is destined to be fulfilled.

This story took my breath away. From the beginning until the end, I was under a hypnotic spell of carefully worded sentences and descriptions. The writing is as poetic, as it is, mystical and vivid.

The best part of the novel is the interweaving of folklore with the realities of a country, family, and sibling relationships. The author succeeds in capturing pieces of the political chaos that marked Nigeria in the 90s.

Overall, a stellar debut novel and one of the best books I have read in a long time.

In 2016, Newsweek published an interesting article about the author, Nigeria, and his plans for a future novel. Available here.