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The famished road
Okri, Ben.
Adult Fiction OKRI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Teeming with fevered, apocalyptic visions as well as harrowing scenes of violence and wretched poverty, this mythic novel by Nigerian short-story writer ( Stars of the New Curfew ) and poet Okri won the 1991 Booker Prize. The narrator, Azaro, is a spirit child who maintains his ties to the supernatural world. Possessed by `` boiling hallucinations, '' he can see the invisible, grotesque demons and witches who prey on his family and neighbors in an African ghetto community. For him (and for the reader), the passage from the real to the fantastic world is seamless and constant; many of the characters--the political thugs, grasping landlords and brutal bosses--are as bizarre as the evil spirits who empower them. In a series of vignettes, Azaro chronicles the daily life of his small community: appalling hunger and squalor relieved by bloody riots and rowdy, drunken parties; inhuman working conditions and rat-infested homes. The cyclical nature of history dooms human beings to walk the road of their lives fighting corruption and evil in each generation, fated to repeat the errors of the past without making the ultimate progress that will redeem the world. Okri's magical realism is distinctive; his prose is charged with passion and energy, electrifying in its imagery. The sheer bulk of episodes, many of which are repetitious in their evocation of supernatural phenomena, tends to slow narrative momentum, but they build to a powerful, compassionate vision of modern Africa and the magical heritage of its myths. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this fantasy novel, winner of the 1991 Booker Prize, the spirit-child Azaro is reluctantly born on earth again and again--this time into a Nigerian family. The family intrigues him, and, ``tired of going and coming,'' he breaks his pact to return to the spirit-world at first opportunity. His fellow spirits torment him, but he perseveres. Azaro's earthly father is a hard-working laborer who tries to make money boxing, though he is often badly beaten. Struggling to make the human journey more than a ``famished road,'' the family finds that life is ``full of riddles only the dead can answer,'' and often not even they can. But through Azaro, whose persistent, poetic spirit admirably reflects Okri's prose, the family alternates between the dead and the living in search of understanding. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/92.-- Kenneth Mintz, Hoboken P.L., N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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