“Obembe was a search dog: The one who first discovered things, who knew things and who, after
discovering them, examined them. He was perpetually pregnant with ideas, and in the fullness of time, delivered them as creatures equipped with wings- able to fly.” pg. 192
Warning: I liked this book. I gave it a solid three stars…however the writer did seem to have a slight obsession with the word excreta. If you have a weak stomach or get turned off by graphic depictions of unsanitary people and/or surroundings this might not be the book for you. If you can stick it out though I think it is a worthy read. My internet research noted that this novel received oodles of accolades and awards, and having read it I can see why.
The Fisherman is a story about a family with four sons. It’s set in Akure, Nigeria (here) in the 1990s. The narrator is Benjamin the youngest of the four boys. The book jacket tells you that one day the boys meet a man who gives them a prophecy of fratricide that will change their lives forever. Obioma’s writing is beautifully poetic. I felt that each chapter in the 304 page novel was presented as part parable/fable which the author used to address class, the dynamics of birth order, gender roles in marriage, and fate.
Throughout this book I kept thinking of the phrase, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Could you shake off a negative prophecy or do you think you would internalize it in some way? Do your thoughts create your reality? Can you manifest your own destiny? I don’t have the answers Sway but I do know I’ve always steered clear of tarot/palm/psychic readings and after reading this book I will continue to do so. If you have any premonitions about my fate I will thank you kindly to keep them to yourselves and as we say in my culture, “Don’t put your goat mouth on me.”( here)
The Fisherman had one of those endings that I think a lot of readers will dissect and re-read to determine what really happened. As always if you’ve read this one I’d love to hear your thoughts.