Review: The Fishermen – Chigozie Obioma

thefishermenI’ve spent some time since finishing this book trying to decide what to say about it. I went in to it with high expectations because of Jen’s feelings about it; high expectations can be detrimental to my final feelings but not in this instance. This book lived up to the expectations I had, even surpassed them.

The Fishermen tells the story of four brothers who are growing up in a Nigerian village with the rather unstable political situation of the 1990s in the background. Their father leaves to work in the city and they go down to the river to fish, the river isn’t somewhere they ought to be. One day they meet the local madman – or prophet – who says that the oldest brother will be killed by a fisherman. This book is ultimately a story of how that unravels them.

The writing of this book is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I find it hard to believe that this is a début, quite honestly! There is such a richness to the language he uses and a depth to the characters, it’s astounding. There is so much to think about in this novel; there are so many things that will keep me thinking for days. I’m certain that the more I reflect on this novel, the more I will enjoy it.

As it stands, I’ve given this 4*. It’s probably 4.5*. It may move up to 5*. It’s a beautiful book and one with a lot of things to think about. There’s more to this than meets the eye and I will definitely get my hands on whatever Chigozie puts out next.

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