The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma

The Novel is Slow in Its Descent, But Absolute in Its Devastation

Chigozie Obiyioma’s The Fishermen is a beautiful novel that is slow in its descent, but absolute in its devastation. The Fishermen is a sophisticated biblical parable of fear and fate, narrated in recollection by Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers. After their father gets a job in a new city, hours away from the boys, they begin to disobediently play on the banks of a river that was known by the townspeople to be cursed. After spending one day fishing from the banks, they encounter Abulu, a local vagrant who is feared for his madness, but also gifted with the power of prophecy. Once Aublu foretells that Ikenna, the oldest of the boys, would be murdered by a fisherman, he gradually grows more and more distrustful of his brothers. Obiyoma’s depiction of the insidious nature of fear becomes apparent as eventually, Ikenna’s madness consumes him, and withers his bonds with his brothers until violence erupts and the entire family’s lives are forever changed.

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