Obioma, Chigozie. The Fishermen. 9 CDs. 10 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2015. ISBN 9781478985310. $25.98. digital download. F
“My brothers and I became fishermen in January of 1996 after our father moved out of Akure, a town in the west of Nigeria, where we had lived together all our lives,” explains nine-year-old Benjamin. With Father’s strict daily oversight missing and Mother busy with their baby sister while running the family’s food store in the local market, Benjamin and his three older brothers are freed of their patriarchally inscribed futures to become “doctors, pilots, professors, lawyers.” Their destination of choice becomes the Omi-Ala—more sewer than the “pure river” it once was—over time spent at school, study, or home. One day, they meet the town’s madman, who calls the eldest brother by name and predicts his death by fratricide, setting in motion a tragedy of Job-like proportions. Part biblical allegory, part contemporary political history, part family saga, Obioma’s magnificent debut is performed with energy and pathos by Nigerian British actor Chukwudi Iwuji. Moving seamlessly from clipped to lyrical, Iwuji’s thoughtful narration imbues Obioma’s text with humor, perception, and profundity. VERDICT An ideal acquisition for literary fiction collections everywhere. [“Made vivid by the well-rendered specifics, Obioma’s quietly unfolding story of family tragedy gathers strength as its cycle of violence spins faster and faster”: LJ 3/15/15 starred review of the Little, Brown hc.]—Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC
This review was published in Library Journal’s March 1, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35 percent off the regular subscription rate.