Friday, 9 October 2015

The Man Booker Prize 2015: The Fishermen- Chigozie Obioma



I don't know why I picked 'The Fishermen' to be the first book I read from the officially announced  Man Booker 2015 shortlist (I read 'A Little Life' before its nomination was announced) but something drew me to it.

Set in the Nigeria of the mid 1990s in a small town, it follows the lives of four brothers after it if foretold that betrayal and violence would come between them. I have to admit, it is not normally the type of synopsis I would go for, I'm not really one for violence.

However, it was not the violence that was the overriding feature. Instead it was the relationships between the brothers themselves and their wider family which really jumped out to me. Despite being in a totally different society and situation to the characters (I don't even have any brothers!) I found myself relating to their feeling and emotions, as well as the reactions of their parents.

It is written from the viewpoint of Ben, the youngest of the brothers, with most of the event occurring when he was 9 or 10. I really appreciated this, the effect of seeing some of the events through a child's eyes somehow simplified their motives, making them almost understandable.

I was totally gripped by the last few chapters, and I utterly commend Obioma for his talent in storytelling. While I enjoyed 'The Fishermen', it did not absorb me in the same way as 'A Little Life'. I found some of the plot points unnecessary and some of the actions of the brothers a little far-fetched. Having said this, I would recommend 'The Fishermen' highly, I was totally gripped by the last few chapters, and I utterly commend Obioma for his talent in storytelling.
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