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Chigozie Obioma

Author of The Fishermen

10+ Works 1,657 Members 75 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Chigozie Obioma is a Nigerian novelist who wrote, The Fishermen, and will be featured at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2015 program. He made the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2015 shortlist. He also made the shortlist for the UK¿s £10,000 (A$21,394) Guardian First Book Award. (Bowker show more Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Author Chigozie Obioma at the 2016 Texas Book Festival. By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53357031

Works by Chigozie Obioma

The Fishermen (2015) 1,091 copies
An Orchestra of Minorities (2019) 548 copies
The Falconer 2 copies
The Native Hurricane (2008) 2 copies
Birdlime 1 copy
Halászok (2017) 1 copy
Orkestar manjina (2019) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Good Immigrant USA: 26 Writers Reflect on America (2019) — Contributor — 149 copies
Anonymous Sex (2022) — Contributor — 59 copies


Common Knowledge

Akure, Nigeria
Places of residence
Akure, Western State, Nigeria
University of Michigan (MFA) ( creative writing)
Assistant Professor of Literature and Creative Writing
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Short biography
CHIGOZIE OBIOMA was born in 1986 in Akure, Nigeria. His short stories have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and New Madrid. He was a Fall 2012 OMI Fellow at Ledig House, New York. He has lived in Nigeria, Cyprus and Turkey, and currently resides in the United States, where he has completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. The Fishermen is his first novel.



2015 Booker Prize longlist: The Fishermen in Booker Prize (September 2015)


I feel conflicted about this story. I appreciate its grand scope and design, and the Igbo cosmology, but there were glaring issues in pacing. I was reminded of the writing style of Dickens, in which every detail is painfully laid out significant or not, and I couldn't help wonder if this story would have been better in an episodic format. The writing is sophisticated, complex, and dense. A slow read to be sure, but not undeserving of your time. Due to this style, Chinonso's character was well-developed, and we, the readers, know him completely, in his lowest of lows and highest of highs. The character development of the First Incantation paid off in the Second and Third, as we glumly followed poor decision after poor decision, and ultimately, saw our protagonist become consumed by illogical rage. When the prose focused on Chinonso's life I was captivated, but often Obioma disrupted the story by yanking us out of the earthly realm into the chi's narrative, which droned on and on with an unfortunate verbose proclivity. A particularly infuriating instance came at the end of the Second Incantantation. I had planned to set the book down for the evening at this juncture but at the height of the action, I was entranced and turned into part three eagerly. Yet, the story came to a grinding halt as Chinonso's chi began lecturing anew. In fact, I found it so infuriating that I did set the novel down for the evening and did not pick it up again for several weeks. When I finally did, I found the remainder of the story uneven and repetitive. That is not to say that Obioma's depiction of Chinonso's spiral is not realistic, but the writing of it lagged. By the last four pages, I was begging for any redemption. Ultimately, the ending left me disappointed and a bit regretful. I am still struggling to decide if the payout here was worth the buy-in.

Although it was not an enjoyable read, Obioma's An Orchestra of Minorities is incredibly in-tune with human emotion and suffering, especially for the most vulnerable members of a society - the lonely. Ironically, I was most excited about this book because it was narrated by a chi...and yet, that very character is the book's undoing.
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KristinDiBum | 21 other reviews | Jul 21, 2023 |
Drama, disappointment, love, friendship, and hardships all are beautifully explained. I have come to know many things that there are is a different world from what I live in. There are places while reading I felt I am fortunate enough. I thank myself for picking this book to read.

BookReviewsCafe | 21 other reviews | Apr 27, 2023 |
An absolutely gut-wrenching, sob inducing book, but it ended on a hopeful note. It was a wrecking ball, filled with biblical allusions, nods to Chinua Achebe, undercurrents of Nigerian politics, but mostly with rich and vibrant descriptions of the day to day lives of a group of brothers. The boys' lives are dictated by their serious, stern father, who wants them all to be successful professionals when they are older, and they also have to live under the constraints of their society and country, which experiences a bloody coup, which is symbolic of what happens to the boys in this book. The boys decide to become fisherman, much to the consternation of their parents, who have much grander visions of who they should be, they have a run-in with a local mad-man, who prophecies that the eldest brother will be murdered by one of his brothers. He takes this to heart, and walls himself off from his brothers, using derision and obstinacy as his weapons, which confuse and hurt his brothers. The prophecy from the madman becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for these brothers, and their lives are ruined or destroyed by what occurs. It was written sparsely, but the structure was a bit odd. We are treated many times to what the protagonist, Ben, imagines might have occurred, as well as to scenes of importance being skipped or told out of order as Ben recalls events. It created a strange flow to the story, with a feeling of everything being upended at times, which worked well to mirror the events that occurred in the book. It ended on a hopeful note however. I can definitely see how this won the Man Booker prize.… (more)
quickmind | 51 other reviews | Apr 12, 2023 |
This is the story of Chinonso, an Igbo poultry farmer in Nigeria. One day, returning from the market, Chinonso sees a woman, Ndali, contemplating suicide, and intervenes to stop her. He goes on his way but they meet again, and he falls deeply in love with her, a love that Ndali reciprocates.

Unfortunately for Chinonso, Ndali comes from a wealthy family who consider him far beneath her. Most especially, they scorn his lack of an education. Chinonso resolves to win their respect, and her hand, by selling everything he has and going to Cyprus to gain a degree in business. This rash decision leads to dire events that cause his downfall.

Chinonso's story is related by his guardian spirit, or chi, as part of an extensive appeal to Chukwu and the other Igbo gods over some grave wrong that Chinonso has committed. This narrative device allows Obiomo to invest a great deal of Igbo culture and history into the story, turning it into something very different. Comparisons have been made to The Odyssey, which Obiomo references in his story, but I think that they are somewhat tenuous, and this book stands by itself as a devastating and tragic tale.
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gjky | 21 other reviews | Apr 9, 2023 |



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