The Fishermen

The Fishermen

A Novel

Book - 2015
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In a Nigerian town in the mid 1990's, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family.

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 1990's Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict 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 ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings.

What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family's destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions-economic, political, and religious-and the epic beauty of its own culture.

With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation's masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Little, Brown and Co.,, 2015.
Edition: 1st North American edition.
ISBN: 9780316338370
Branch Call Number: FIC Obiom
Characteristics: 297 pages : map


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Jan 31, 2018

I gave up - the foreshadowing of "The change was a long time coming..." got irritating.

Jul 17, 2017

This is a very enjoyable read, but a book that needs to be seen through non-Western eyes, with an understanding of the African concepts of evil, fate and family. Interesting.

Jan 29, 2017

Obioma asks some philosophical questions in his novel 'The Fishermen' that are both haunting and representative of our time and whose answers might just be the very things we need to begin any sort of transition into a better world. In his juxtaposition of four brothers, we are forced to examine their characters and reach grim conclusions about them and ourselves even as we see our own flaws mirrored in them. The main character is perhaps the most flawed as he the youngest, who never truly lives his own life until it is too late. Ben is the pristine example of the repercussions of not having to make our own decisions but to instead blindly follow the lead of others. 4 stars out of 5.
- @TheEccentric of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

rosiebear2 Jun 12, 2016

I found the story to be engaging and the characters well developed. I was put off, however, by the author's overabundance of modifiers, which at times seemed jarring or strained, sometimes even inappropriate.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

Obioma's debut novel tackles several issues—family, mental health, discipline, religion, justice—but at its core it is the story of brotherhood. It's not the most original or epic of stories, but it kept me thoroughly entertained. The Fishermen is a magnificently crafted debut and a thrilling and lyrical fable.

ChelseaJM Mar 31, 2016

I just added this to my "staff picks" here at Squamish Public Library. it was one of the best books I read last year! It really gets to the core of humanity, childhood/coming of age, and it's mythical in scope. Whether or not you're a fan of Nigerian fiction, I would recommend this!

Feb 14, 2016

A really good debut novel. A wonderful story of country, family, bonds and togetherness.
At first, I was skeptical....but then I was completely sucked in. The tragedies of this family, interwoven with the difficulties of the country, came together in a touching, haunting, mystical yet realistic manner. This is a country sitting on the edge of modernization, with all it's uncertainties, clinging to the past and the excitement at moving forward. Chigozie Obiama managed to instill all of these elements into one family's life, telling it through the eyes of a 9-year old boy. Throughout, the remaining family faces the future together and looks forward, just as the country faces the future with its people.
Wonderfully told. I look forward to more works by this author.

Nov 01, 2015

The fear and superstition surrounding the prophecy of a local madman, slowly works it's way through a family and begins to tear it apart. An interesting look at how violence and fear beget more violence and fear. This was an engaging story. Well worth reading.

DevilStateDan Oct 24, 2015

A brilliantly told story of a Nigerian family that disintegrates slowly as one tragedy leads to the next, all seemingly brought about by wayward prediction by the village mad-man who incidentally is tolerated by the community due to the accuracy of his predictions
It's a most beautifully written novel with great lyrical quality to every sentence, using nature & the immediate environment to better describe a situation or feeling
A truly outstanding debut - can't wait for his next one!
#ABookThatScaresMe #2015ReadingChallenge

Oct 16, 2015

The way Obioma infuses nature with spirit and lyricism at the same time is masterful.
Akura, Nigeria is a child or a river or each and every living creature or part of the landscape that inhabits it, and you can sense the might of it all. I hadn't read a native African fiction until this.

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Hatred is a leech: The thing that sticks to a person's skin; that feeds off them and drains the sap out of one's spirit. It changes a person, and does not leave until it has sucked the last drop of peace from them.

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