Let me start by forewarning you guys, I am horrible at book reviews. I think I lack the required skill set to actually properly review a book. And whilst i intend to do the needed research on that topic, I can’t help but attempt a mock review in the meantime. Forgive me, I have just finished reading this book and the fire still rages inside me.
Here is what the good folks at goodreads had to say about The Fishermen:
“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…
…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 with the epic beauty of its own culture….. ” you can find the full review here
Here’s what I thought..
The first thing I should say about this incredible work is that it was well written. Like a well composed symphony, the next line falls perfectly in place. And the line after that, and the line after that.
It was “thought provoking” in a way that most fictional books really aren’t. I found myself spending close to hours after I had read the last word in the last chapter, lost in thoughts.
“How did all this happen?”
“Why did it happen?”
“Who was to blame”
I ran through every character in my head again. They were alive to me, they where people I knew, people I had met and interacted with
For me, because I have the attention span of a goldfish and perhaps because I read too quickly, I find it difficult to breathe life into characters in the stories I read. But not this time, this time it came effortlessly.
Then there was the writing style, like a true storyteller. It’s almost like I’m not holding up a book. But I am siting somewhere outdside by a warm fire on a starry night, listening to a seasoned storyteller create life with his words.
It wasn’t a book I had planned to actually read, I just came upon it while I waited for a bus to fill up and decided to pass time with it. But ended up gobbling up all 240 pages of it in less than 50 hours- amidst distractions.
Choosing my three favorite quotes from The Fishermen was insanely difficult. There are so many lines that stood out in my head, I tried to narrow it down to just three and in the end, I failed. But I am okay with it.
Here are my best six quotes from The Fishermen
“I once heard that when fear takes possession of the heart of a person, it diminishes them. This could be said of my brother, for when the fear took possession of his heart, it robbed him of many things – his peace, his well-being, his relationships, his health, and even his faith.”
“I’d heard someone say that the end of most things often bears a resemblance – even if faint – to their beginnings”
“Listen, days decay, like food, like fish, like dead bodies. This night will decay, too and you will forget. Listen, we will forget.”
“That story, as all good stories, planted a seed in my soul and never left me.”
“Hatred is a leech: The thing that sticks to a person’s skin; that feed 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.”
“Our father, the strong man, could not help me; he’d become a tamed eagle with broken claws and a broken beak”
Here’s what I’m trying to say; I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, not once did I have to force or cajole myself to keep going. I look forward to reading more books by Chigozie Obioma. If you can, find the time to read it too.
I’d love to here your thoughts on it…
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