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The Fishermen (2015)

by Chigozie Obioma

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8724518,378 (3.81)1 / 122
"Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they encounter a madman who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact--both tragic and redemptive--will transcend the lives and imaginations of The Fishermen's characters and its readers"--Page 4 of cover.… (more)
  1. 20
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (pbirch01)
    pbirch01: Mentioned in the book and many similar themes
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» See also 122 mentions

English (40)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
I liked the glimpse this one gave me of another culture, but it wasn't nearly as big or important a book to me as was Half of a Yellow Sun, which offered not only the look at another culture but greater beauty, tragedy, and richness than this one did. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Gosh, this was good! Narrator, Ben, tags along with his three older brothers, when Father is away and they wag school to go fishing. An encounter with a local madman and his prophecy that the eldest will be killed by one of his siblings, has far-reaching and terrible effects, as a very normal Nigerian family starts to find themselves in a kind of Greek tragedy.
I couldn't put it down; you have no clue where it's going. The characters are all very real and believable and you're on the edge of your seat. Really absorbs you in the world of smalltown Nigeria- its politics, culture and religion- but is also a compelling narrative that resounds with every reader.
Quite brilliant. ( )
  starbox | Dec 20, 2020 |
A sort of modern-day Macbeth in which a set of brothers is unraveled by the power of suggestion in a madman's prophecy. Obioma is a very promising young writer, and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Holy moly this book is amazing. Obioma has such a powerful and beautiful voice, and the story he weaves is just phenomenal. I felt like I knew Ben and Obembe and Boja and Ikenna, knew what it was like in their house, knew their emotions. The story is heartbreaking but so wonderfully constructed. I give it all the stars! ( )
  bookishtexpat | May 21, 2020 |
This was really good. Well written with solid characters, the story was good but not the strongest part of the book. Worth the read. ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
In his exploration of the mysterious and the murderous, of the terrors that can take hold of the human mind, of the colors of life in Africa, with its vibrant fabrics and its trees laden with fruit, and most of all in his ability to create dramatic tension in this most human of African stories, ­Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to ­Chinua Achebe.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Fiammetta Rocco (Apr 14, 2015)
 
Set in 1990s Nigeria against a backdrop of modernisation, westernisation and political upheaval, The Fishermen tells the story of four brothers whose lives are destroyed by a madman’s prophecy. Using myth to great effect, Obioma explores the customs of the community of Akure, detailing how the fates of its people are intricately linked to their beliefs.

The narrator is nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of the brothers, whose imaginative world view lends a striking voice to the tale. In a book that is loaded with metaphor, where parents speak in parables to warn their children of danger, many of the chapters start with Ben likening his family to animals: “Ikenna was a python: A wild snake that became a monstrous serpent living on trees, on plains above other snakes.” These comparisons mark changes in characters and presage the dangers to come.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Obioma, Chigozieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Iwuji, ChukwudiNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The footsteps of one man cannot create a stampede.

IGBO PROVERB

The madman has entered our house with violence
Defiling our sacred grounds
Claiming the single truth of the universe
Bending down our high priests with iron
Ah! yes the children,
Who walked on our Forefathers' graves
Shall be stricken with madness.
They shall grow the fangs of the lizard
They shall devour each other before our eyes
And by ancient command
It is forbidden to stop them!


MAZISI KUNENE
Dedication
For my brothers (and sisters),
the "battalion",
a tribute.
First words
We were fishermen:
My brothers and I became fishermen in January 1996 after our father moved out of Akure, a town in the west of Nigeria, where we had lived together all our lives.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

"Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they encounter a madman who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact--both tragic and redemptive--will transcend the lives and imaginations of The Fishermen's characters and its readers"--Page 4 of cover.

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Book description
Four brothers encounter a madman whose prophecy of violence threatens the core of their family in this exciting debut novel.

Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they encounter a madman who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact — both tragic and redemptive — will transcend the lives and imaginations of both its characters and its readers.

Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the best new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation’s masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.
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