The Fishermen de Chigozie Obioma

de Chigozie Obioma - Género: English
libro gratis The Fishermen


In this striking novel about an unforgettable childhood, four Nigerian brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family
Told by nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of a childhood in Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they meet a madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of the book's characters and readers.
Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fisherman is an essential novel about Africa, seen through the prism of one family's destiny.

Reseñas Varias sobre este libro

Oh, how I loved the end of this book! It made my heart soar.

Really, really well done debut novel that is worthy of the Man Booker shortlisting. It is a family drama with overtones of a Greek tragedy. The story is narrated by Ben, both as a 10-year old child and an adult man looking back. Ben is the 4th son of a tightly knit Nigerian family that begins to unravel when the disciplinarian father takes a job at the Nigerian Central Bank in another city. Without the father's watchful eyes on them, the four oldest boys decide they are going to become fishermen. For six weeks, the brothers and their friends tramp down to the foul, forbidden Omi-Ala river to fish and catch tadpoles. One fateful day at the river, the brothers' paths cross with Abulu the Prophet, a local madman. Abulu makes a prophecy that the oldest son, Ikenna, will be brutally killed by a fisherman - which Ikenna interprets to be one of his own brothers. With mythic overtones, the family, one by one, becomes undone by the prophecy.

There is richness and beauty in the details of this story - the daily life and interactions of the family set against the political and social backdrop of Nigeria in the late 90's. Ben describes each member of his family as an animal, often a bird, and poetically describes how that family member embodies that animal's characteristics.

I had a hard time finishing this book - it look me almost a week because I would become overwhelmed by dread as the prophecy wreaked its havoc on the family. I feared what would happen next and to whom, so I would have to put the book down and walk away. (Yes, I am a "wuss.")

Lest you avoid this book thinking it may be a downer, ultimately it is uplifting and moving. Do read it. It's a worthy contender for the Man Booker. I look forward to what is next from Mr. Obioma. best-of-2015 booker-2015149 s Nicole~198 262

4.5 stars
The madman has entered our house with violence
Defiling our sacred grounds
Claiming the single truth of the universe
Bending down our high priests with iron
Ah! yes the children,
Who walked on our Forefathers’ graves
Shall be stricken with madness.
They shall grow the fangs of the lizard
They shall devour each other before our eyes
And by ancient command
It is forbidden to stop them!
- poem by Mazisi Kunene,
the epigraph to The Fishermen

Chigozie Obioma's talent as a powerful storyteller and gifted writer is evident from the very first pages. He immediately and vividly evokes the legend behind a key character of the novel's plot: the Omi-Ala - once a pure river, a clean source of fish and drinking water, and worshipped by the people of Akure a god - became besmirched by rumor, condemned as evil by colonialists tooting Christianity; then defiled, tabooed, and condemned as untouchable in 1995, when its waters became steeped in the blood soaked mystique of a floating mutilated corpse.

The Fishermen, set in Nigeria in the 1990's when it was under the military rule of General Sani Abacha, recounts the fall of the Agwu family. Obioma skillfully mixes national unrest, westernization and modernity to parallel the paths of his characters without turning the novel into a political diatribe. Striking from the start, Obioma's prose is hypnotic, casting spells on the reader with the folklore of the land, the myth and legends that contribute to the decline of the Agwus whose lives are ensnared by their customs and beliefs. For Ikenna, Boja, Obembe, and Benjamin (the youngest brother of the four and the narrator): this is no uplifting coming-of-age tale or revelatory retrospective contemplation. The interwoven parables are hard-lessons, dark, brutal, mournful, and tragic.

Crime and punishment
I had to take a breath as a paralyzing sense of pain was palpable when the boys, caught for skipping school to go fishing in the forbidden Omi-Ala river, are severely whipped by their father, Eme. But just when I felt extreme hatred for Eme, there's comprehension ( not justification) for the corporal beating : “What I want you to be is a group of fishermen who will be fishers of good dreams, who will not relent until they have caught the biggest catch. I want you to be juggernauts, menacing and unstoppable fishermen...Not the kind that fish at a filthy swamp the Omi-Ala, but fishermen of the mind. Go-getters. Children who will dip their hands into rivers, seas, oceans of this life and become successful: doctors, pilots, professors, lawyers. ”

Prophet of Doom
The boys' fates were already sealed at the forbidden Omi-Ala river by an encounter with the town's madman ( because, you know, every town has one), Abulu, a soothsayer said to be possessed by the demon, "robed from head to foot in filth. As he rose spryly to stand, some of the filth rose with him...his back was caked with a dripping mess from some dead mango in a state of putrefaction...I observed that he carried on his body a variety of odours, the most noticeable of which was a faecal smell that wafted at me a drone of flies when I drew closer to him. This smell, I thought, might have been a result of his going for long without cleaning his anus after excretion.” Abulu calls Ikenna by name and foretells his murder at the hand of one of his brothers, evoking the biblical Cain and Abel fratricide. The gravity of the prophecy and belief in superstition run through the brothers' veins an infection morbidly threatening its host, because even in the hearts of a loving band of brothers harbor the germs of distrust, deception, jealousy, rage and violence. Which one of them could be the future killer of his own brother? Realizing that Abulu is the cause of conflict between the brothers, a gruesome revenge is planned, tragically furthering the break down of the family mosaic.

To look into the future one would see nothing; it was peeping into a person’s earhole.

Historical context
The author also masterfully uses the Nigerian tradition of storytelling as a literary subversive blanket for socio-political criticism; cautious not to overwhelm the central themes, it is subtle yet effective. Obioma acknowledges that "countries can take a wrong turn just as people can." Nigeria was created from the ideas of madness, deceit and false prophets who have caused disharmony and destruction to Africa: allegories in the Fishermen of British intrusion that strongly resemble Chinua Achebe's acclaimed work Things Fall Apart,The African Trilogy #1 - one could classify it as the latter's metaphoric grandchild.

When the British left in 1960 and Nigeria gained independence, the people immediately saw their differences....(three major tribes with nothing in common, cohabiting to form a ‘nation’)...and that they could not exist as a nation, but it was too late. I intend Abulu as a metaphor for this entity that infiltrates the lives of others, creates chaos through mere words, and causes suffering among the people, while the family of four boys is a metaphor for the major tribes of Nigeria. - Chigozie Obioma

The Agwu family story unravels between 1993-2003, putting them in the midst of the 1993 elections and its overturning by the junta; MKO Abiola's imprisonment and execution; the dictatorial rule of General Sani Abacha, to finally civil governance. Whereas a little historical background gives the novel grounding and realness, its presence is not necessary to be blown away by the brilliant, artful authorship of Chigozie Obioma.

fablesque historical-fiction nigeria ...more109 s s9 24

This review has been long overdue. I read The Fishermen some time ago following a brilliant review by the African Book Addict before the Booker long list was announced and I jumped right into the novel, with no inkling that it would fast become one of my favourite books of the year.
Written from the perspective of younger brother Benjamin, the novel follows the lives of four Nigerian brothers from a close knit family, their prophetic encounter with a madman and the devastating effect that one moment can generate. This notion of external forces wreaking havoc and destroying the great potential of the family is perhaps an allegory for Nigeria, the resource rich nation whose own story could be very different were it not for the ravages of foreign colonialism and internal corruption. But I digress. Whilst there is indeed an undercurrent of political discontent in the story, it is buried deep beneath a beautiful, engaging and intimate portrayal of a family in crisis. Obioma’s evocation of the minutiae of life and the foibles of this family are understated yet powerful, compelling the reader to fully imbibe the story. The language is simple, terse and simultaneously emotive, multifaceted and highly efficacious. The narrative, which switches between adult Benjamin and Benjamin as a child feels cathartic, brimmed with animalistic and esoteric allusions that serve as innocent, child - signifiers of the imminent tragedy. This book is everything and more that I want in a novel, it left my head in that brilliant post good- book head –fog for about a week and my only complaint would be that Obioma doesn’t have another novel for me to read! With humble nods to the great Achebe throughout the book, Obioma looks set to follow the success of his literary forefather with this brilliant debut. And he certainly gets my vote for the Man Booker!

83 s NnediAuthor 152 books16.1k

Oh yeah, definitely a must read. This was good good Igbo village storytelling. If anyone's work should be compared to Chinua Achebe, it's this one. But it's also got its own unique voice. There were times when it meandered a bit too much for my taste; sometimes there were details that felt included in order to pull the voice away from the point-of-view of a ten year old (these felt heavy-handed and often out of place)... but these moments didn't keep me from continuing. It's not a perfect novel (there is no such thing as a perfect novel), but it's a great first novel and it's the type of story that I love. Plus, I love a good tragedy. ;-) *Applause*. 73 s Darkowaa176 430

!!! http://africanbookaddict.com/2015/07/...
I'm just floored right now. This is a dark, haunting, tragic, heart-wrenching BUT amazing story of 4 brothers and their family and a madman - Abulu. Right when you think things get better and the craziness plateaus, something pops up! I feel I know/knew Ikenna, Boja, Obembe and Ben - their love and brotherhood are so dear to me, I don't know why. Chigozie Obioma wrote about these boys in such a tender way that had me ALLLLL in my feelings. I felt alllll types of feelings reading this book - every word counts! Obioma's use of metaphors made this story too palpable. References to 'Things Fall Apart' in this book, alongside other contemporary works and worldly happenings made this all the more a satisfying read. I'm SUPER proud of this author and I wish him nothing but more success! This has been the best book I've read all summer .... and maybe for this year (its a little too early though, we're only in June!) I'm still trying to digest some stuff from the book...I'm just sitting here thinking about stuff...
Pick this up if you get the chance. Please - just do it.

Official review on my book blog: http://africanbookaddict.com/2015/07/...favorites55 s Erika75 142

This novel was selected for my book club, but I actually skipped the meeting since I didn’t want to heap negativity on other people who may have d it.

But here, no one is stuck in a room with me so I’ll let it rip.

The Fishermen takes place in Nigeria in the mid-90s. It’s the story of four brothers in a small village who sneak out to the river—a place they are forbidden to go—and fish. One day, a terrifying, mentally ill man foretells that the oldest one will be killed by one of the others. The madman is known for his prophecies which are always horribly grim.

The novels’ first half deals with the effect of the man’s prediction—it ruins the oldest brother and tears the family apart. The second half chronicles a series of events that transform the brothers’ lives.
Sounds interesting, right? I thought so too and was excited to pick up The Fishermen. It won a slew of awards including being shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and most of the on GRs were very positive.

After finishing it though, I feel I read the wrong book.

Orioma clearly has talent. There is a mythic quality to his writing, and he does a great job capturing the relationships between the brothers as well as looking at the prediction itself. Is it a self-fulfilling prophesy that only became inevitable when the madman spoke it? This brings up the questions of how much of our lives occur because they are roadmapped by others. Who are those others and where does their power come from?
Yet, I don't believe The Fishermen deserved its accolades. The themes are hopelessly muddied and inconsistent and much of the writing lacks control and maturity. Here are two sample passages.
His eyes were bloodshot and his face pale, but there was an expression on it that was so indescribable, so beyond recognition—as my memory at the time could afford—that it became the face that I now mostly remember of him.
All we did for the rest of that evening was sing, the dying sun pitched in a corner of the sky as faint as a nipple on the chest of a teenage girl a distance away.
Obioma has a habit of depicting the most important moments of the plot either in flashback or off-stage entirely, which robs the novel of much of its urgency. The dialogue feels stilted, the pacing jerky, the action awkward.

Finally, I was left wondering what the book was really about. There’s plenty of religious symbolism, glimpses of Nigerian politics, some family dynamics and an exploration of mental illness, but nothing adds up or pays off. In an interview, Obioma was asked when he first had the impulse to write the book. Here is part of his answer:
I have been looking for a way to capture… the situation in Nigeria: Why is it that Nigeria can’t progress? We have abundant oil, a strong elite educated class, a sizable youth population… Why are we still backwards as a people? The issue I think lies in the foundation itself. The distinct tribes, Yoruba and Igbo, they are their own states. They used to have no contact and they progressed in their own way. But then a colonizing force came in and said, “Be a nation.” It is tantamount to the prophecy of a madman. Why are we subscribing to this British idea of a nation? Why can’t we decide for ourselves?
What an interesting metaphor! For me, this short quote is cleaner and more controlled than anything The Fishermen has to offer.

books-read-in-201666 s AmerieAuthor 7 books4,231

I loved this story from the start. The first quarter of the novel had me chuckling and nodding my head in recognition at the family dynamics, especially when it comes to strict Education! Education! parents. Chigozie's imagery and metaphors are superb, and something in the prose and unfolding of events gives the story a magical realism bent, though everything is plausible.

Really, the story is presented as a fable, with nearly each chapter named after an animal and beginning with who that animal represents. At the same time, the overall feel is fresh and modern. THE FISHERMEN is humorous and heartbreaking and touching and I'm sure a second read will prove both rewarding and revealing.2015-faves a-loves-it-forever50 s Cheryl478 662

Some books need to be read aloud so that the texture comes across in sound. Chukwudi Iwuji did an excellent job of performing this book, at times changing his intonations to suit the mood, switching to Igbo or Yoruba accents, paying attention to words and dialect and meaning in sound. This was a joy to listen to on several three-hour car journeys.

The past and present are beautifully intertwined in this story of brothers. Told from the retrospect of one brother who has just spent a few years as a minor in prison, this is a story of boys who come of age in an economically disadvantaged town in Nigeria. Their parents are determined to raise their four oldest sons to be professors, lawyers, or doctors, when a strange tragedy befalls their family. At the center of this tragedy is a mentally unstable man whose mental health is the result of traumatic brain injury from a car accident, a man who has no help from his community, and one who commits unspeakable crimes. Wrapped into this terrifying cocoon are the hopes and dreams of boys, the darkness of the spirit world, the tears from a mother's heart and a father's lost ambition. This story of 1990s Nigeria, which parallels the political climate of the time, is spellbinding and searing, visceral and unforgettable.africa audiobooks47 s Maxwell1,261 10.1k

The Fishermen tells the story of a family in ruins after a madman's prophesy drives one brother to be plagued with fear. Obioma utilizes a lot of mythological and folkloric story-telling techniques, especially drawing on the natural world. It reads much a parable, and I can't help but think that certain parts, especially the title, are direct biblical allusions.

I'll admit I wasn't a big fan of the first half of this story. It seems disjointed and focused on setting up the atmosphere of the boys' Nigerian hometown, Akure, along with the transformation their family undergoes. But about halfway through something happens that triggers the events to come as well as brings together some elements from the beginning, and that propelled me to read the rest of the novel with fervor.

I think Obioma, Achebe and Adichie, has a strong voice and important things to say. As his debut novel, The Fishermen shows the literary prowess of someone far beyond his years. I was moved by the brotherhood these boys shared; I was torn by the grief that Benjamin, the narrator, undergoes; and I was filled with hope by the end of the novel. There is much to be mulled over in this novel. It's packed with motifs and themes that could keep you thinking for days. And I'm sure that the more I reflect on this novel, the more I will enjoy it.black-authors41 s Book Riot Community953 218k Read

This book has been on my reading list for a solid two years and I’m thrilled I finally picked it up. The Fishermen captures the complex dynamics of brotherhood at a young age in a way that harbors both natural sentimentality and literary gravitas. Narrated by Ben, a nine-year-old Nigerian boy with four brothers living in a rural town, Obioma’s novel is adeptly attuned to how enormous and wondrous everything seems during childhood, but what makes The Fishermen truly remarkable is the author’s ability to transform the most astounding events of youth into believable moments of personal growth, familial pain, and utter joy.

— Aram Mrjoian

from The Best Books We Read In June 2017: https://bookriot.com/2017/07/03/riot-...

This book is astonishing. When I decided to give The Fishermen a try, I honestly didn’t really expect to make it past the first few pages (it’s not the sort of plot I usually get excited about). But then all of a sudden I was halfway through and could barely catch my breath. There’s just so much that’s fascinating, surprising, and exhilarating about the book. The narrator is an observant but not excessively precocious nine-year-old. The story follows the disintegration of a family in small-city Nigeria. The focus is on a group of brothers whose brutal cleaving drives and haunts the plot. The mood is both abstractly mythic and concretely physical. The writing is perfectly tuned, lyrical in places and bracing in others. The characters’ shifting multilingualism (Igbo, Yoruba, English) plays an intriguing role. The narrative structure has the past float to the surface of the present, then recede, then reappear. And the whole thing is much, much more than the sum of these parts. — Derek Attig

From The Best Books We Read In February: http://bookriot.com/2015/03/02/riot-r...favorites literary-fiction39 s Bam cooks the books ;-)2,034 272

I did things a little backwards here and recently read Obioma's second book, An Orchestra of Minorities, before deciding I really had to get to his debut novel.

This story begins in 1996 and is about the wealthy Agwu family of Akure, Nigeria, who have six children. Father "defended fathering so many children by saying he wanted us to be many so that there could be diversity of success in the family. 'My children will be great men,' he'd say. 'They will be lawyers, doctors, engineers.'"

The father works in the Central Bank of Nigeria. One day he announces the bank has transferred him to a branch of the bank in Yola, more than a thousand kilometers away. But his wife and children will stay in their home and he will visit every other weekend.

The four oldest boys are close in age: Ikenna, 15; Boja, 14; Obembe, 11 and Benjamin, 9. Benjamin is the narrator of the story and explains how things in this wonderful, tight-knit family begin to fall apart. The reader is forewarned that tragedy is in the making.

It begins, of course, with father being gone so much. The boys get a bit bored and begin to get into trouble--going fishing where they have no business being. Near the river, they encounter Abulu, the local madman, who is infamous for his prophesies. He warns Ikenna that one of his brothers will kill him. From that day forward, Ikenna is changed and can no longer be a functioning part of this family.

'Hatred is a leech. The thing that sticks to a person's skin; that feeds 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.'

Will Abulu's prophesy come true? Is this one of those things that is self-fulfilling if believed in strongly enough?

Hard to believe that this is the author's debut work. The setting, the characters, the immersion in the culture, and the slow unfolding of the tragic plot all come together to create one terrific story.2019-reads38 s Nikoleta699 322

3,5/5 αστεράκια32 s Helene Jeppesen691 3,614

For some reason, it took me a long time to finish this book even though it's relatively short. But when I did read in it, I loved it! I think I just needed to process it, because this is a really heavy story that, however, starts very abruptly and makes you question the purpose of this narrative in the beginning.
The Fishermen are a bunch of brothers who live in Nigeria and who are very connected. They seem to really grow up over the course of one year, and what starts out as a bittersweet, amusing story becomes a tragic and divastating narrative.
I definitely see why this novel was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, but something about this book made me not love it as much as I was hoping for. As stated earlier, I read it very slowly and wasn't really interested in picking it back up, but once I got into it I was fascinated. I'm happy that I've now read it, and I think that it speaks of a lot of truths and horrors that teenage boys can go through. 31 s Chrissie2,811 1,443

After chapter 10:

The Fishermen is a difficult read. I had been warned but didn't take the warning seriously. Stupid me. What is described is revolting - vomit, excrement, penises, rivers of blood. Sex, mystical beliefs, political riots - all in a jumble. Maybe this is what modern authors write nowadays given that we live in a world of such violence. There better be a good point to the book for presenting such content. Disjointed and confusing, but from time to time there is a beautiful sentence that you marvel over.


My review on completion:

What this book does well is shake up readers, we the “haves”, to the life of the “have-nots”. The book is not set long ago. It is set in Nigeria of the 1990s, 1996 to be exact. It concludes in 2003.

It is also about retribution. Should one personally avenge crimes done to family members?

The book follows one poor, but aspiring Nigerian family. They live in Akure, which according to Wiki is in south-western Nigeria and is the largest city and capital of Ondo State. It is referred to as a town in the novel. The family is tightly knit, particularly the four eldest siblings, four boys - Ikenna 15, Boja 14, Obembe 11 and Benjamin 9. The story focuses upon them, their relationship with each other and what happens when they meet up with a madman who makes a prediction, places a curse on them. Benjamin tells the story twenty years later. It all starts when their father gets a job far away and refuses to take the family with him; he says that life there is too dangerous! He returns home only every other weekend. With the departure of their disciplinarian father the boys must make decisions on their own. Look at their ages and take one guess what happens. The madman is not only delusional, rapes women and runs around naked but is seriously dangerous. There is no political or civil order in this small town.

I am not so sure the violence had to be depicted with such detail. Only the brothers’ love for each other weighs against the violence of the novel.

The audiobook narration was absolutely perfect. Horrible events are read levelly without over-dramatization. The words speak for themselves. The narrator is Chukwudi Wuji, an African of course.
2016-read audible-us hf ...more29 s Jessica Woodbury1,745 2,536

I heard raves about this book for months before I finally got to it. And despite having heard so much about it, I knew pretty much nothing except the setup. No one told me what came next. Which, admittedly, is how I prefer it. But it's worth noting at this point that this is a book that would be the most heartwrenching of the year were it not for the fact that A Little Life was also a 2015 release. If you're one of those people who can't read novels where bad things happen to children (and I know there are many of you out there) you should give this one a hard pass.

The sad and difficult things that happen in this book are even harder given how sweet the first third or so is. After that it gets seriously Shakespearean. I had such a pit of dread in my stomach that I found myself occasionally tuning out because I wasn't sure I was ready for another bad thing to happen and I was sure one would.

But with all that said, it's an astounding book. Beautiful, visceral, and deeply emotional. A book I won't forget any time soon. It's also a good choice for audio, I tend to lean that way when I'm reading a book set in another country so I can get the lilt of the language and the reader here is excellent.audiobooks authors-of-color best-of-201528 s Monica666 666

Really interesting an immersive story. I was invested in this coming of age tale of a Nigerian family. Not a happy tale but so good!! rtc

5 Stars

Listened to the audio book narrated by Chukwudi Iwuji. He was perfect for this book. Superb!5-star africa aoc ...more29 s Jen CampbellAuthor 32 books12.1k

Video review to follow :)28 s Dagio_maya 981 296

“L’odio è una sanguisuga: la cosa che si appiccica alla pelle di una persona; che se ne nutre e prosciuga la linfa dallo spirito.
Cambia una persona, e non se ne va finché non le ha succhiato via l’ultima goccia di pace. “

Un felicissimo esordio quello di Obioma Chigozie (finalista Man Book Prize 2015) acclamato dal New York Times come l'erede del grande scrittore Chinua Achebe.

“I pescatori” si muove parallelamente su due piani: quello di un microcosmo famigliare e quello più ampio, della Nigeria fotografata in un particolare momento storico, ossia quello delle elezioni del 1993 e del regime militare che seguì.

Quindici capitoli che annunciano un tema attraverso un animale o uno stato mentale e che danno un tocco di originalità a tutta la struttura del romanzo.

La voce narrante è quella di Benjamin, il quarto dei sei figli di James e Paulina Agwu.
Essendo gli ultimi due troppo piccoli, i primi quattro fratelli vivono a maggior contatto costruendo tra loro un solido rapporto piramidale che vede in cima il maggiore per età: Ikenna.

” Non ero mai vissuto senza i miei fratelli. Ero cresciuto guardandoli mentre mi limitavo a seguire la loro guida, vivendo una versione delle loro vite al principio. Non avevo mai fatto niente senza di loro, soprattutto senza Obembe, che, avendo assorbito molta saggezza dai due più grandi e distillato una più ampia conoscenza attraverso i libri, mi aveva lasciato completamente dipendente da lui. Ero vissuto con loro, avevo tanto contato su di loro che non c’era pensiero concreto nella mia mente che prendesse forma senza prima aver vagato nelle loro teste.”

Un legame stretto e talvolta condizionante che racconta la storia di una famiglia che si sgretola mentre una nazione tutta vacilla.

Si ritrovano quelle tematiche della letteratura africana strettamente connesse alla sua storia di paese coloniale e quindi dilaniato da una crisi d’identità profonda e perdurante.

In primo luogo la lingua, o meglio, le lingue:

” Madre disse tutto il resto in inglese e non in igbo, la lingua con la quale i nostri genitori comunicavano con noi; mentre tra noi parlavamo yoruba, la lingua di Akure. L’inglese, pur essendo la lingua ufficiale della Nigeria, era una lingua formale con la quale ti si rivolgevano gli estranei e i non-parenti. Aveva il potere di scavare fossati fra te e i tuoi amici o parenti che decidevano di usarla al posto dell’igbo. Quindi i nostri genitori parlavano di rado l’inglese, tranne che in momenti come quello, quando le parole avevano lo scopo di strapparci il terreno da sotto i piedi. “

E’ un aspetto importante in quanto ogni nigeriano è come minimo bilingue e si muove tra i diversi idiomi a seconda di ciò che vuole esprimere.

Un secondo elemento fondamentale è quello della religione – nel caso dei protagonisti cristiana- che si trova in continua contraddizione con le credenze animiste.
Ed è proprio la superstizione la calamità che farà crollare tutto corrompendo la ragione e trasformandosi in paura prima e in ossessione per la vendetta poi.

Un dramma annunciato fin dall’inizio che racconta la sconfitta di un sogno: quella di un padre e quella di una nazione.
un assaggio...

” Noi eravamo pescatori:
Io e i miei fratelli diventammo pescatori nel gennaio del 1996 dopo che nostro padre andò via da Akure, la città nell’ovest della Nigeria dove eravamo vissuti insieme da tutta la vita. Il suo datore di lavoro, la Banca Centrale di Nigeria, l’aveva trasferito in una sede a Yola – una città del nord all’immensa distanza di più di mille chilometri – all’inizio di novembre dell’anno prima. Ricordo la sera che Padre tornò a casa con la lettera di trasferimento; era un venerdì. Da quel venerdì e fino al sabato Padre e Madre tennero consulti sussurranti come sacerdoti di un tempio. La domenica mattina, Madre era una creatura diversa. Aveva acquistato il passo di un topo bagnato, distoglieva lo sguardo mentre girava per le stanze. Quel giorno non andò in chiesa, ma rimase a casa e lavò e stirò una pila di abiti di Padre, recando in viso una tristezza impenetrabile. Nessuno di loro disse una parola ai miei fratelli o a me, e noi non facemmo domande. Io e i miei fratelli – Ikenna, Boja, Obembe – avevamo capito che quando i due ventricoli della nostra casa – nostro padre e nostra madre – tacevano come i ventricoli del cuore trattengono il sangue, a schiacciarli rischiavamo di allagare la casa. Così in momenti come quelli evitavamo il televisore che si trovava sulla libreria a otto moduli del salotto. Restavamo nelle nostre stanze, a studiare o a far finta di studiare, preoccupati, ma senza fare domande.”
5-stelle africana27 s Cynnamon647 120

English version below


Dieses nigerianische Familiendrama konnte mich leider nicht so überzeugen wie viele andere (begeisterte) Leser.

Dem Klappentext ist zu entnehmen, dass der Roman eine Fabel über das Schicksal Nigerias sein soll.
Und genau damit begannen meine Probleme. Ich habe eine Weile versucht, die Symbole zu erkennen und zu interpretieren, fand sie an vielen Stellen aber nicht wirklich schlüssig.
Irgendwann habe ich das Buch dann als Familiendrama gelesen. Diese Geschichte über eine Familie, die durch geistige Instabilität, gesellschaftliche Unruhen und ein Übermaß an Aberglauben zerstört wird, war nicht uninteressant. Die nicht enden wollenden Tiervergleiche gingen mir jedoch unglaublich auf die Nerven und bedeuteten für mich keinerlei Mehrwert.

Insgesamt war es leider keine Geschichte, die mir etwas gegeben hat. Ich bewerte mit2,5 Sternen, die ich abrunde.


Unfortunately, this Nigerian family drama didn't convince me as much as many other (enthusiastic) readers.

The blurb states that the novel is intended to be a fable about the fate of Nigeria.
And that's where my problems started. I tried to recognize and interpret the symbols for a while, but found them not really conclusive in many places.
At some point I read the book as a family drama. This tale of a family devastated by mental instability, societal turmoil and an excess of superstition was not without interest. However, the never-ending animal comparisons really got on my nerves and didn't mean any added value for me.

Overall, unfortunately, it wasn't a story that gave me anything. I rate 2.5 stars, which I round down.
kat-contemporary public-bookshelf26 s somuchreading175 276

Με τους Ψαράδες ήμουν περίεργος. Ήμουν περίεργος από την πρώτη στιγμή που άκουσα για το βιβλίο, πριν δω πως ήταν υποψήφιο για τα Man Booker Prize και Guardian First Book Award, πριν μάθω πως θα κυκλοφορούσε σύντομα από το Μεταίχμιο και πριν το βρω σε πολλές από τις λίστες με τα καλύτερα βιβλία του 2015 που ήδη κυκλοφορούν.

Το μυθιστόρημα είναι ένα απλό, εύκολο ανάγνωσμα ενός νεαρού συγγραφέα. Παραμύθια, θρύλοι και παραδόσεις της Νιγηρίας δανείζουν στοιχεία τους σε μια τραγική ιστορία που στην αρχή της δε μοιάζει καθόλου με τέτοια. Στα πρώτα κεφάλαιά του το βιβλίο βρίσκει πολύ αργά ρυθμό, αλλά από όταν αυτό επιτυγχάνεται, η αφήγηση κορυφώνεται σε ένα κρεσέντο δυνατών στιγμών.

Παρόλο όμως το δράμα του Ικένα, του Μπότζα, του Ομπέμπε και του Μπέν, με τον τελευταίο να είναι και ο αφηγητής του Obioma, η ιστορία απέτυχε να συγκινήσει κάποιον ξεκάθαρα ευσυγκίνητο όπως εγώ. Ίσως σε αυτό να έπαιξαν ρόλο και κομμάτια των διαλόγων των χαρακτήρων που, και εδώ σοβαρολογώ απόλυτα, μου θύμισαν σε σημεία τους διαλόγους του Φώσκολου. Δεν είμαι όμως απόλυτα σίγουρος πως γι' αυτό φταίει ο συγγραφέας και όχι η μετάφραση.

Η εικόνα της Νιγηρίας στα 90s παρότι αποσπασματική συμπληρώνει τίμια την κύρια ιστορία, μια ανθρωποκεντρική, σκοτεινή ιστορία για το πεπρωμένο, από το στόμα ενός παιδιού κι ενός ενήλικα, του ίδιου ανθρώπου, ταυτόχρονα.

Με τους Ψαράδες εξακολουθώ να είμαι περίεργος. Θέλω να δω πως θα ανταποκριθεί απέναντί τους το αναγνωστικό κοινό της χώρας μας, που δεν έχει συνηθίσει ιδιαίτερα να διαβάζει ιστορίες από την καρδιά της Αφρικής. Αν είστε περίεργοι [και θα έπρεπε να είστε], για το τι βγάζει η Αφρικανική λογοτεχνία τα τελευταία χρόνια, νομίζω πως οι Ψαράδες είναι ένα από τα έργα που θα ήταν καλό να έχετε στις αγοραστικές σας προτεραιότητες.

Από εμένα έχει ένα καθαρό και άνετο 3,5*/5 που μεταφράζεται στα 3*/5 εδώ στο Goodreads.own-now25 s Aditi920 1,443

“I have now come to know that what one believes often becomes permanent, and what become permanent can be indestructible.”

----Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma, an ward winning Nigerian writer, has penned a captivating and a spellbinding tale called, The Fishermen that revolves around four brothers living in a small town in Nigeria, who in the absence of their strict father, decide one day to go for fishing in the river that is supposed-to-be-cursed, later to sell their catch for good money, but when their mother comes to know about it, they could not avoid their father's harsh beatings and later the older brothers gets cursed by a local madman that he would be killed by one of his fishermen brothers, leading to a chain of disastrous events in the lives of the four brothers.


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.

Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers.

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.

With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation's masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.

Akure is the small town where the four brothers, Ikenna, Boja, Obembe, and Benjamin, live with their parents and three other younger siblings. And Omi-Ala is the river, where these four brothers decide to go for fishing along with their friends and later sell their catch to earn money, in the absence of their strict father, and away from the prying eyes and ears of their conservative mother. Sadly their adventure with fishing comes to an abrupt end, when a nosy neighbor informs the mother of their four brother's fishing expedition at the cursed river of the town, that have carried death and blood since the Christian settlers have arrived in the town, as before that, people of Akure used to worship the river that brought them fortune and good health. After their father's awareness about the fishing expedition, the four brothers get brutal corporal punishment by their father. Right after the beating, the elder brother gets cursed by a local madman that he would be killed in the hands of his brother, thereby weakening the strong bond of brotherhood between the four boys. Who gradually walk on a downhill road to bad luck and bad fortune, followed by death, murder, grief and loss.

The author is a genius who crafted a compelling tale featuring the Igbo people, an ethnic tribal group native to Nigeria, and their folk lore, culture, beliefs, superstitions and lifestyle in a very vivid manner, that brings them alive right before the eyes of
the readers. Although the author has touched the political unrest drama in the back drop of the story line subtly, yet the readers can feel the political issues, fights, clashes thoroughly. The boy's faith and belief is shaken when the madman foretells a prophecy about the elder brother, whom the younger three brothers worship and depend anything. Their modern mindset took a backseat when it came to superstitions and prophecies. Followed by a heart wrenching journey to downhill where their fate becomes their worst enemy.

The author's writing style is superb, brilliant, evocative and deeply intense, that will not only intrigue the readers but will also move them by their hearts and souls. The narrative is engaging and enchanting enough to arrest the readers into the story's charm till the very end. Even though it is tragic and heart breaking story, yet somehow it will make the readers feel empowered and enlightened towards a lesser known ethnic tribe of people in Africa. The prose is lyrical and extremely exquisite enough to make the readers fall for the story with all their heart.

The back drop of Akure, a Nigerian town, is strikingly portrayed into the story line. From the dusty roads to the small houses to the massive cursed river to the cheerful football fields to the controversial church to the rustic landscape, every thing is arrested vividly by the author into this book, thus bringing it visually imaginative for the readers. Even I felt myself getting teleportated to Akure while reading about the boys' adventure both with fishing as well as with revenge. Even the then culture and the lifestyle of the people, both native and colonialists are aptly capture into the story line.

The characters are extremely well developed, thoroughly realistic and honest to their very core. The main character is the narrator of the book, who happens to be the youngest brother, a mere age of 9 years and the way he looks up to his elders brothers is really touching. His young voice is not only filled with metaphors and here-and-there light humor, but is also filled with subtle philosophy of life, that only made me fall for his character deeply. All the four brothers, sharing the same blood, yet have different personality and beliefs and that made them go against one another's ideas, ultimately leading them to downfall. The rest of the characters of the brothers as well as of the parents and of the madman is portrayed with depth and backstory that is enough to leave a mark in the minds of the readers long after the story has ended.

In a nutshell, this is a mesmerizing yet a poignant African tribal tale deep with family love, siblings rivalry and superstitions besides political turnout and fallout of those times.

Verdict: A must read book, strongly recommended!

Courtesy: Thanks to my younger brother for the lovely gift that contained this book. africa family friends ...more23 s Barbara148 61

I won this book in a goodreads.com giveaway...thank you!
This was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Kirkus Reviews described it best: "The talented Obioma exhibits a richly nuanced understanding of culture and character.... A powerful, haunting tale of grief, healing, and sibling loyalty."
I used my hands to turn the pages but then my heart took over and I was totally engrossed in this incredible book and I don't think I will ever forget Ikenna, Boja, Obe, or Ben. I highly recommend this intense and mythical novel. Thank you Chigozie Obioma!!!
african-literature fiction first-reads23 s Pink537 566

Oh why didn't I review this before.

Honestly, I was kind of disappointed when I read this. I only picked it up due to it being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, which does unfortunately lead to a lot of expectation. I really should learn to stay away from hyped up books until all the drama and attention dies down.

So, now looking back at this a few months later I can begin to appreciate this on a different level. I think it was a real family saga, one that introduced me to a totally different way of life to my own. I started off not particularly caring for the characters, but I came to hate them, then love them in their own way. They were complexly crafted, neither good guys nor bad guys, but their relationship was tangled and destined to end in tragedy.

It felt a folklore tale, one to share around a campfire and teach about the importance of family and bonds. It was an accomplished first time novel and the message and story have definitely grown in my memory since I set the book down. 22 s Tea JovanovićAuthor 393 books731

Amazing debut novel! Shortlisted for several awards... Africa, brothers, family, coming of age, masterfully crafted novel! Unique new voice in world literature! #mustread

Dobar prevod na srpski...read-for-pleasure20 s Barbara1,526 1,062

4.5 stars: THE FISHERMEN is short-listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, and rightfully so. Chigozie Obioma is a very young (in his 20’s) Nigerian author who has amazing talent for one so young.

Obioma tells a story of a big (6 children) Nigerian family who live in Akure Nigeria in the 1990’s. The story is told from the fourth oldest son, Ben’s, point of view. It begins in 1996 when Ben’s father deemed the brothers as Fishermen of knowledge, a pivotal time in their lives when his father tells the oldest son, Ikenna, that he must lead his brothers in the quest for knowledge as the father is gone much of the time working.

Obioma provides the cultural and political environment and history of Nigeria during the time. Ben’s family is educated and financially stable and Christian. At that time in Nigeria, the culture was transitioning into Christianity although pieces of African traditional religion and superstition remained intact. So when a known crazy man of the village, who the villagers feel has prophetic abilities, foretells an unsavory future for the oldest brother, the brothers’ tight relationship implodes.

This is a tragic story of religious cultural clashing, of family bonds, of brothers’ devotion, of superstition. Obioma writes of his own town, his own country with such authenticity and reality, you smell the stink of the polluted river; you feel the contradictory feelings of religions; you feel the family emotional turmoil. This novel is beautifully written and enlightening to the cultural struggles of Nigeria during the 1990’s. I highly recommend it.
historical-fiction21 s Hugh1,274 49

Continuing my occasional journey through Booker shortlist/longlist history, it was interesting to approach Obioma's debut novel having read the later An Orchestra of Minorities first. The two books do share some common elements - both could be seen as modern Greek tragedies, but this one seems a little tighter, and rather less dependent on understanding the spirit world. It is clear, not least because the book is mentioned, that Things Fall Apart is a major influence.

This is a story of four brothers from an Igbo family in Akure, a small Nigerian town. After their father is forced to follow his work to the north of the country for an extended period, the brothers start fishing in a river to which access is forbidden. Here they encounter the madman prophet whose words cast a shadow over their future and drive the plot.

Obioma succeeds in capturing the atmosphere of the town and the expectations of these young lives very well, but on another level the book is remorselessly bleak.booker-shortlist borrowed modern-lit ...more20 s Semjon676 415

Mir hat dieses hochgelobte Buch nicht gefallen. Womöglich bin ich mit falschen Erwartungen an den Roman gegangen, denn ich hatte die Geschichte einer Familie aus dem aktuellen Nigeria erwartet. Stattdessen schreibt der Autor eher so, wie westliche Autoren früher über Afrika geschrieben haben: exotisch, dunkel, archaisch und vollgestopft mit Symbolen aus dem Tierreich. Irgendwie war für mich schnell klar, welche Rolle die einzelnen Familienmitgliedern in nigerianischen Geschichte einnehmen. Da war der Beruf des Bankers für den Vater, der nur englisch mit seinen Kindern spricht und sie vehement davon abhalten will, zu den Wurzeln ihrer Vorfahren zurückzukehren (Fischer werden) einfach zu plakativ. Und auch die anderen Figuren empfand ich als klischeehaft. Ich konnte beim Lesen einfach nicht die Deutungsebene verlassen und in die Geschichte eintauchen, weil sie auch nicht mit einer besondernen Tiefe erzählt wurde, sondern schlicht und oberflächlich. Klang er wie ein Jugendroman oder halt ein Märchen/Fabel.

Familien als Mikrokosmos zu verwenden, um die Probleme im Makrokosmos Staat zu erklären, ist ja nun auch kein neues Stilmittel. Gab es bei Ödipus, Macbeth, Buddenbrooks oder Karenins auch. „Alle glücklichen Familien gleichen einander, jede unglückliche Familie ist auf ihre eigene Weise unglücklich.“ Dieser erste Satz aus Tolstois Werk trifft auf die nigeranische Familie ganz besonders zu. Wenn dann der äußerst kritische Zeitgenosse Maxim Biller auf dem Buchrücken davon spricht, dass Der dunkle Fluss ein moderner Klassiker sei, dann sind meine Erwartungen halt auch sehr hoch an ein Buch, dass diese bei weitem nicht erfüllen konnte.
nomis-booker22 s Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer1,949 1,549

Review revisited after the author’s stronger but still I felt flawed second novel was also Booker shortlisted by another jury keen to produce a diverse and international shortlist.

A tale of four Nigerian brothers (told in the narrative present tense by the youngest brother Ben many years later)

The story very consciously rests on African storytelling (which often leads to inconsistencies in the retelling, as well as the blend of folklore and superstition with a country struggling in but part of a globalised world (Mortal Kombat is a key interest of the younger brothers and one which seems to foretell the two later murders). Allegory and animalism is mixed in with the retelling – the chapters are named after animals or insects to which a character or group of characters are compared in vivid imagery at the start of each chapter. Clearly also the book serves as an allegory for Nigeria’s struggle post-independence and the way in which brothers have fought each other and the country has failed to reach the ambition of its founders – the boys are transformed by a meeting with a politician later deposed by a military coup.

Despite or perhaps because of the simplicity of its narrative the book is both enjoyable and full of imagery – but still reads very much a flawed if promising first novel rather than a literary masterpiece.2015 2015-booker-shortlist19 s Cherisa B574 52

A middleclass Igbo family in Akure, Nigeria suffers tragic vicissitudes when the four eldest sons, ranging in age from 16 to 8, are caught between belief systems (Christianity and native superstitions), cultures (Igbo and Western, especially regarding education, but also legal, where a madman can commit all sorts of crimes without punishment), and changes in household circumstances (the father is relocated to a northern area of the country where it is too unsafe for the family to join him, and thus the family loses his strong-hand authority and constant presence).

At the start of the story, the brothers are very close. (There are two younger children, a 4 year old brother, too young to factor into the closeness of the four, and an infant sister.) The parents run the family strongly together, relying on and closely coordinating the strengths of both to do their parts well. Though Nigeria has undertaken a population control and contraception program, the parents have consciously ignored it and chosen the large family model for the sake of the "clan", thus setting the tone for how the adults may pick and choose Western or Igbo values. The boys attend a Christian, Western style school, and the family is religious and attends a Christian church.

When a local madman "prophesizes" that one of the brothers will kill the eldest, the dynamic amongst the four begins to change. The slide into dysfunction is facilitated when the father's employer, the Central Bank of Nigeria, denies the father's request not to be transferred from home. The loss of his daily presence in the household has severely detrimental effects on the boys. His occasional weekends home serve only as punishment periods, with one weekend beating prompting disastrous consequences.

Obioma's narrator is the fourth son, so we see the world of Akure and the family through a child's eyes, with its pain and confusion and acceptance of how things are without knowing why things are so. Some things are cultural or social, some are economic, some might be plain gender and age related (male adolescence). The author juggles these balls really well for a fully engaging and believable story of a family set for success disintegrating sadly and quickly, leaving the reader to wonder how it could have been saved and wishing it could have been.africa21 s Richard1,019 438

Autor del comentario: