In the decade since it won the Booker Prize, Ben Okri s Famished Road has become a classic Like Salman Rushdie s Midnight s Children or Gabriel Garcia Marquez s One Hundred Years of Solitude, it combines brilliant narrative technique with a fresh vision to create an essential work of world literature.The narrator, Azaro, is an abiku, a spirit child, who in the Yoruba tradIn the decade since it won the Booker Prize, Ben Okri s Famished Road has become a classic Like Salman Rushdie s Midnight s Children or Gabriel Garcia Marquez s One Hundred Years of Solitude, it combines brilliant narrative technique with a fresh vision to create an essential work of world literature.The narrator, Azaro, is an abiku, a spirit child, who in the Yoruba tradition of Nigeria exists between life and death The life he foresees for himself and the tale he tells is full of sadness and tragedy, but inexplicably he is born with a smile on his face Nearly called back to the land of the dead, he is resurrected But in their efforts to save their child, Azaro s loving parents are made destitute The tension between the land of the living, with its violence and political struggles, and the temptations of the carefree kingdom of the spirits propels this latter day Lazarus s story.
The Famished Road In the decade since it won the Booker Prize Ben Okri s Famished Road has become a classic Like Salman Rushdie s Midnight s Children or Gabriel Garcia Marquez s One Hundred Years of Solitude it combi
They wanted to know the essence of pain, they wanted to suffer, to feel, to love, to hate, to be greater than hate, and to be imperfect in order to always have something to strive towards, which is beauty They wanted also to know wonder and to live miracles Death is too perfect.The road thirsts for libations of blood and tears and sucks into its inescapable vortex, parables of imperialist avarice and remnants of broken dreams It cuts across the acropolis of untold agonies, eavesdropping on circu [...]
This book almost broke me and ate me.I went to bed after reading the first twenty pages of it and I dreamt about chasing an antelope with a broken horn which jumped out the window I, in turn, was being chased by a wild boar covered in blood which spoke in a human voice There was also a flying carpet.I don t really like magical realism but this book didn t care I was gonna have it whether I liked it or not It swept me away before I knew it By the end of it I would read about a man who slept for t [...]
Just didn t feel the love for this I hate long accounts of dreams in novels and magical realism can be like reading an endless succession of dreams I like the laws of gravity to hold fast in the novels I read so this started off at a big disadvantage where my reading preferences are concerned One of the few novels I ve ever failed to finish is Midnight s Children In short, this is a novel about an African community struggling and failing to be born, the community a microcosm of Africa itself As [...]
Towards the end of the book, in Chapter 12 of Book 7, the author states quite clearly what seems to be his intended message The spirit child is an unwilling adventurer into chaos and sunlight, into the dreams of the living and the dead Things that are not ready, not willing to be borne or to become, things for which adequate preparations have not been made to sustain their momentous births, things that are not resolved, things bound up with failure and with fear of being, they all keep recurring [...]
5 starsa monstrously beautiful piece of literature.a must read before you dieDecided to add two comments thatI gave to two friends since I wrote such a flimsy little fragments in 2013 when I was not writing reviews This book is so unbelievable I have never read a book that was like one long dream sequence full of wonder, beauty and ugliness It is incredible This is in my top ten books of all time You will die from the wonder I cannot put into words the impact this book has had on me I ponder on [...]
A boy sat down to read a book, but when he looked closely, it was not a book, but a person The person had green skin and roller skates for eyes A lizard with a head as big as the moon scuttled over and sniffed the green skinned person What are you looking at the person asked the boy I thought you were a book, the boy said No, the person said, I am a metaphor or magical realism or some shit I dunno But I have roller skates for eyes, that s pretty cool The boy shrugs You re mum is a metaphor, he s [...]
An oneiric epic Phantasmagoria in the bush One is reminded of Achebe s Things Fall Apart in which the Yoruba myth of the abiku, or spirit child, is so much darkly rendered The Famished Road is not so dark a book It is scary in its way, surely, loaded as it is with its cast of frighteners, but it can also be oddly reassuring in its vivid depiction of the afterlife Heaven may indeed be a place where nothing ever happens, yes, but as intimated by Okri it is also beautiful, in a Daliesque way, with [...]
For the first 150 pages I was mightily frustrated.Then came the episode of the poisoned milk, distributed by a political party canvassing for votesSuddenly the sense of community coalesces The symbolism speaks The deceitfulness and peril of whiteness is exposed It recurs in many guises from false holiness to naked danger to amulet of enemies.But Okri would not have us simplify, would not have us make this many faceted reflection into a parable where every sign has one meaningAnd that, I think, i [...]
Oh my dear lord, how I hated The Famished Road Friends don t let friends read this book I only finished it because I was trekking in Nepal with no alternative English language book for miles upon miles In my personal hell, this is the only book in the library.
I am within sight of finishing my occasional project to read all of the Booker winners I have to say that I have very mixed feelings about this It is undoubtedly striking and very different to any of the other winners, but it could have been better for me it seemed too long and a little too self indulgent The reader is also expected to swallow a lot of African folklore.There are only four main characters The narrator Azari is a spirit child, and at every crisis point he journeys into the spirit [...]
A very strange book I found the first two thirds dull, densely dreamlike, and impenetrable Then something caught fire, and the last third was absolutely riveting In the final chapters, the camera pulls back and you realize that the book isn t just about a boy who is struggling to be born it s about all of post colonial Africa, struggling repeatedly to be born, and too often falling back into death It needs to be read with Zimbabwe, or Liberia, or Sierra Leone, or Angola, or Uganda, or the Congo [...]
I read this book when Ben Okri won the Booker Prize, its an astonishing read full of detail and insight into the world of spirits in village life I could not put it down its compelling and hypnotic Amust read for every serious book reader.
I CAN T HANDLE THIS BOOK It s addicting and annoying and takes itself too seriously and colorful and tense and weird and jumpy and cool WHAT DO I DO I am a bit over halfway and can t quite stop reading it but it keeps me up all night not turning pages, but anxious after I put it down It s also ridonculously long, so I can t just suck it up and finish it in a couple nightsok i think i have offically given up on it It had so much potential to be good but all of the acid trip writing never amounted [...]
This is my book of the year I absolutely devoured this book An African tale filled with folklore, sangomas and creatures of a nether world The story traces the life of Lazarus, a boy gifted with the power to see and engage in the African spirit world He takes you along a very hungry road that is Nigeria filled with poverty, corruption and disease yet also rich in many other ways This book was filled with moments where I wonder what on earth was going on only to be dumped firmly back on harsh Afr [...]
later addition well the guardian newspaper says it is the 25th anniversary since publication so what are you waiting for read it review for third volume of the famished road trilogy this last of three novels by ben okri, the famished road series, is a great summation of themes introduced, elaborated, extended, from the other two i read some reviewers who claim he merely includes of the same, fantastical, definitely african, images, thickening the stew but not creating new savour, but i suggest [...]
I have a question, after finishing this book how can I go back to living my daily work life This masterpiece of imagery and language made me question everything about the capitalist machine.The story of the boy Azaro and his family s struggle in a poor neighborhood somewhere in Nigeria shuttles readers between the real world and the spirit world and interweaves the two in any given scene The boy s father who transforms himself into a mystically powered boxer named Black Tyger and mother teach hi [...]
In the month since I ve finished The Famished Road it s managed to become less appealing and the worse parts have stuck strongly in my mind So I dropped it from three stars to two I hate disliking books, so here s my attempt at articulating its weaknesses Okri has some really well developed characters in here Azaro s father is conflicted, torn between his natural viciousness and his desire to be gentle and kind to his family The photographer is a great political symbol Azaro himself is fascinat [...]
A young Nigerian boy named Azaro is caught between two worlds the real world, and the spirit world he came from when he was born He s in a constant struggle to keep his soul here in the real world, with the spirits trying to get him to join them again in their world Azaro s real world family lives a hand to mouth existence, with his father doing manual labor jobs for very little money, and his mother peddling what cheap goods she can get ahold of They live in a compound in the ghetto, and are of [...]
Okri provides a wonderful insight into the life of ordinary villagers during the colonial rule at an unnamed location in Africa, presumably in Nigeria The daily struggles of the characters are very well portrayed and deeply moving at times Even though the plot is simple, the prose flows beautifully and it kept me hooked to the book What I found difficult to get through were the hallucination dreamlike descriptions, the frequency and duration of which went on increasing as the book progressed Alt [...]
i am no expert but i think the reigning opinion amongst literary snobs is that magic realism is an embarrassing gimmick braving the possible negative backlash, i have already put one hundred years of solitude on my favorites shelf today, i m going to take another leap of faith and confess that i also loved this one i read this quite a while ago in 2006 maybe but tonight i don t want to sleep so i m killing the time on randomly adding things i am a real sucker for stories written from a child s p [...]
I found this book immensely frustrating I wanted to love it much than I did, but despite the beauty of Okri s prose, I read The Famished Road itching for a red pen At least half of the book could have been edited out, and it would have made for a much stronger novel I can appreciate what Okri was trying to do with making it so cyclical the novel is about Azaro, a spirit child who is reborn over and over to the same parents, enduring the same events, paralleling the struggles Africa faces having [...]
An awful book Boring, impenetrable, and practically unreadable Utter dross hiding behind the obscure and silly moniker of magic realism I have to admit I started skimming whole paragraphs, something I ve NEVER done as a reader Nonesense Vague Over written No plot Rubbish.
This was my first read, and favorite, out of my recent selections from West African authors The use of magical realism is very fitting, combining the spiritual beliefs with everyday life, very much like Wole Soyinka and Amos Tutuola have done before The cyclical plot structure also intensified the genre It felt like a lot was happening but going nowhere fast, reminding me of Yeat s poem Things Fall Apart where the center cannot hold Yet, having lived in Ghana, Africa while reading this book, I h [...]
Un copil ce se zbate ntr o lume plin de mizerie i este dat s renasc pe t r mul spiritelor i s tr iasc al turi de al i abiku copii spirit Azaro alege lumea uman n defavoarea celei a spiritelor Acesta tr ie te n lumea african unde oamenii mor de foame, negrii sunt privi i cu ur de c tre albi, corup ia este auto impus , s r cia devine religie universal , iar politica devine centru de interes pentru cei a c ror ultim speran e s aspire la ceva mai bun Tot romanul are un aer hipnotic, te c l uze te n [...]
1991Beautiful images and prose, but far too long to keep me loving it Can you have too much beauty I wouldn t have thought that could be so until I read this book It is well written and the events, both real and spiritual, are wonderfully described, using elements of African folk story telling effectively and juxtaposing contrasting images, but nothing much happens.It would be accurate to say that the same things keep happening Dad gets into fights, Mum gets upset, Azaro runs off and sees spiri [...]
A Thrilling Journey through African EnchantmentBen Okri s THE FAMISHED ROAD is exceptional in its treatment of fiction as a study of both history and prophecy Through the eyes of Okri s child hero, Azaro shortened from Lazarus readers enter an African community coming to terms with that crossroads known as change Like another boy hero in the famed CALVIN AND HOBBES comic strip, Okri s Azaro is prone to wandering roads of the imagination that constantly lead him in body, mind, and spirit away fro [...]
It was too much for my little brain to process at certain times, got confused between reality and visions dreams.Could not really understand some of the metaphors,This book was way too strong for me.
This book was really big Little words and about 500 pages The writer has a really unique style I am sure there is a term for it, but basically he mixes the magical with the practical One sentence a boy is walking to the store, and the next he is encountering three yellow glowing witches, an old herbalist, a wizard s apprentice and a centaur in a magical forrest Yeah, it s kind of like that My description might repel or attract you to the story, but there is a lot going on in this book than a fu [...]
The reviews say things like, you ve never read a novel like this before Winner of the Booker Prize, etc Well, sometimes you want to read a little magical realism, right Like you are yearning to re read Cien A os de Solidad by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I also feel like that sometimes But I only gave this book three stars because it is 500 pages of this Mesmerized by the cobalt shadows, the paradoxical ultramarine air, and the silver glances of the dead, I listened to the hard images of joy Real [...]
OK, I must admit the that writing is pretty, very descriptive and the story which is almost in the background is compelling However, after a few chapters the descriptiveness becomes too bizarre and too changeable I got completely fed up after 10 pages the first time I tried to read it This time I made it to 180 pages before giving up I cannot stand this writing any and Okri has spoiled it for me I cannot understand for the life of me why it won the Booker Prize Maybe because it came from an Afri [...]