The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

The Fishermen

Chigozie Obioma

Why did the lives of the 'perfect' Nigerian family disintegrate into violence and misery? Was it witchcraft, mental illness or parental absence? The poetic style of the writing which initially seems old-fashioned and traditional, exaggerates the extraordinary and horrific events. Told in the words of Ben, one of five brothers who is nine years old at the start of the story, this is a totally absorbing debut novel. Definitely one to watch.


Obembe was not alone in the kitchen. Mr Bode stood beside him, his hand on his head, gnashing his teeth. Yet there was a third person, who, however, had become a lesser creature than the fish and tadpoles we caught at Omi-Ala. This lay facing the refrigerator, his wide opened eyes still and fixed in one place. It was obvious these eyes could not glimpse a thing. His tongue was stuck out of his mouth from which a pool of white foam had trailed down to the floor, and his hands were splayed wide apart as though nailed to an invisible cross. Half-buried in his belly was the wooden end of Mother's kitchen knife, its sharp blade deep in his flesh. The floor was drenched in his blood: a living, moving blood that slowly journeyed under the refrigerator, and, uncannily - like the rivers Niger and Benue whose confluence at Lokoja birthed a broken and mucky nation - joined with the palm oil, forming an unearthly pool of bleached red, like puddles that form in small cavities on dirt roads.

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