|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Book » Reviews » The Famished Road » User review

Ponderous in its creation, yet it satisfies on all fronts!

  • May 10, 2013
  • by
Rating:
+5
War, strife, misery, corruption, poverty, emotional and physical brutality, hypocracy, intimidation. It is a short list, but they are indeed the fundamentally potent ingredients that could make anyone who is simmering in the total unhappiness of it all truly yearn unceasingly for an existence in another realm, where the chains of seemingly unending suffering are simply melted away into nonexistence. In poverty laced and psychologically decimated "modern" Nigeria, as written by Ben Okri, the Nigerian society as a whole or a good chunk of it, would be one camp where death would be a liberating gift from the undesired toilings of harsh day-to-day realities. With mellifluous simplicity, Ben Okri creates duel worlds: one heavenly, one earthly. And in the duality, there is a responsive spirit-child named Azaro who can cross the bridge of life into death and death into life, as one who consistently has near death experiences. But each requires a sacrifice, for when Azaro traverses into the dimension of spirit, he must leave behind his mother and father who love him, though much of his earthly actions bring about stress and frustration, as well as joy and pleasure--more of the former than the latter, however. But if he stays in the land of the living, he must endure the hardships that are naturally affixed to it. He gets himself stuck, as if in a Catch-22, hankering for both the spiritual and earthly worlds. Through the vast array of characters: Mom, Dad, Madam Koto, the Photographer, various political yes-men, the boxer Green Leapard, the blind man, Ade, et cetera, the raw yet richly cultured Afrocentric aura looms lushly outward in an almost literary 3-D manner. Village life, culture and mythical behavior, as well as the "game" or "tragedy" (you choose) of African politics via the technique of magical realism is very much fleshed out. The simplicity of the writing style in no way, shape or form mollifies the palpable depth of the characters who must live and survive in an all-too-consuming oppressive environment that would seem quite alien to most of us---in an upper/middle class creme de la creme point of view. The Famished Road is dense, plodding and absolutely wild in its limitlessness of human imagination, a genuine wordy and intellectual tour de force if ever there was one and certainly worthy of its Booker Prize!
Ponderous in its creation, yet it satisfies on all fronts!

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
0
Thought-Provoking
0
Fun to Read
0
Well-Organized
0
Post a Comment
More The Famished Road reviews
review by . March 14, 2005
War, strife, misery, corruption, poverty, emotional and physical brutality, hypocracy, intimidation. It is a short list, but they are indeed the fundamentally potent ingredients that could make anyone who is simmering in the total unhappiness of it all truly yearn unceasingly for an existence in another realm, where the chains of seemingly unending suffering are simply melted away into nonexistence. In poverty laced and psychologically decimated "modern" Nigeria, as written by Ben Okri, the Nigerian …
About the reviewer
Christian Engler ()
Ranked #543
I am a writer who loves books.
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
mfbiwap123
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book

Wiki

You have never read a novel like this one. Winner of the 1991 Booker Prize for fiction,The Famished Roadtells the story of Azaro, a spirit-child. Though spirit-children rarely stay long in the painful world of the living, when Azaro is born he chooses to fight death: "I wanted," he says, "to make happy the bruised face of the woman who would become my mother." Survival in his chaotic African village is a struggle, though. Azaro and his family must contend with hunger, disease, and violence, as well as the boy's spirit-companions, who are constantly trying to trick him back into their world. Okri fills his tale with unforgettable images and characters: the bereaved policeman and his wife, who try to adopt Azaro and dress him in their dead son's clothes; the photographer who documents life in the village and displays his pictures in a cabinet by the roadside; Madame Koto, "plump as a mighty fruit," who runs the local bar; the King of the Road, who gets hungrier the more he eats.

At the heart of this hypnotic novel are the mysteries of love and human survival. "It is more difficult to love than to die," says Azaro's father, and indeed, it is love that brings real sharpness to suffering here. As the story moves toward its climax, Azaro must face the consequences of choosing to live, of choosing to walk the road of hunger rather than return to the benign land of spirits. The Famished Road is worth reading for its last line alone, which must be one of the most devastating endings ...

view wiki

Tags

Details

ISBN-10: 0385425139
ISBN-13: 978-0385425131
Author: Ben Okri
Publisher: Anchor

© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists