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An Orchestra of Minorities

An Orchestra of Minorities

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019

From the author of the Booker-shortlisted novel, The Fishermen

‘Obioma is truly the heir to Chinua Achebe’ New York Times

A young farmer named Chinonso prevents a woman from falling to her death. Bonded by this strange night on the bridge, he and Ndali fall in love, but it is a mismatch according to her family who reject him because of his lowly status. Is it love or madness that makes Chinonso think he can change his destiny?

Set across Nigeria and Cyprus, An Orchestra of Minorities, written in the mythic style of the Igbo tradition, weaves a heart-wrenching tale about fate versus free will.

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‘A spectacular artistic leap’ Guardian

‘Brilliantly original’ The Economist

‘A remarkable talent’ Independent

‘Few contemporary novels achieve the seductive panache of Obioma’s heightened language, with its mixture of English, Igbo and colourful African-English phrases, and the startling clarity of the dialogue. The story is extreme; yet its theme is a bid for mercy for that most fragile of creatures – a human’ Eileen Battersby, Guardian



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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 17th January 2019

Price: £18.99

ISBN-13: 9781408710807

Reviews

A modern take on Homer's The Odyssey, this Nigerian love story is filled with plot twists that demonstrate the power of persistence
Essence
If African literature ever got a book that represented the careful realities of being African without necessarily portraying Africa within the specifics of the western stereotype, it was definitely Chigozie Obioma's The Fishermen
The Afrodiaspora List: The Best African Novels of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN
A tale of mythic nature and epic scale at times recalling Homer's Odyssey - a sweeping story about destiny and the power of choice
Vanity Fair
It is brimming with life and buzzing with emotion but at the same time it carries a deeply poignant quality: Obioma has a deep understanding of recent Nigerian history
Nick Barley, Director Edinburgh International Book Festival in The Herald, Best Books of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN
Obioma has a masterful way with words
The Herald
An Orchestra of Minorities is a magisterial accomplishment by any measure, and particularly impressive for the way Obioma orchestrates a tableau in which humans and spirits must interact in a complex, emotionally rich-veined story. Few writers can match Obioma's astonishing range, his deft facility for weaving a mesmeric and triumphant fictive canvas in which - reminiscent of the ancient masters - a cohort of gods presides over and negotiates the fates of humans
Okey Ndibe, author of Foreign Gods, Inc.
There's no sign of difficult second novel syndrome here: this is a continent-spanning magical-realist tale of star-crossed love . . . intoxicating
Daily Mail
A fast-moving romantic tragicomedy . . . It tells the heartbreaking story of a lovestruck Nigerian chicken farmer called Chinonso in present-day Nigeria, who sacrifices everything to win the heart of the woman he loves
Independent
A striking, controlled and masterfully taut debut
Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times on THE FISHERMEN
Part Bildungsroman, part Greek tragedy, The Fishermen may be the most interesting debut novel to emerge from Nigeria this year . . . In a first novel full of deceptive simplicity, lyrical language and playful Igbo mythology and humour, he uses the madman's apocalyptic vision for the family as a way of conjuring up Nigeria's senseless body politic . . . This is an impressive and beautifully imagined work
Economist on THE FISHERMEN
A crucial journey into a heartache that is both mythical and real
Booker Prize Judges 2019
Obioma´s remarkable fiction is at once urgently, vividly immediate, yet simultaneously charged with the elemental power of myth
Peter Ho Davies, author of THE WLESH GIRL on THE FISHERMEN
I just finished reading Chigozie Obioma's astonishing first novel . . . The writing is so crisp, the story so unusual, that I couldn't put the book down
Alice Walker
Destined to become a classic
HelloGiggles
I just finished reading Chigozie Obioma's astonishing first novel . . . The writing is so crisp, the story so unusual, that I couldn't put the book down even though it disturbed me. It was written to disturb. Four brothers, conceived by their parents to become happy and successful men, become instead harbingers of immense torment and grief. Someone must have observed that it is our children who can break us, when all other systems of oppression have failed. That is part of the tidings of this remarkable, mythic, book
Alice Walker
An ambitious and immersive tale about love and sacrifice, told by an ancient spirit. A bold new novel from an exciting young writer
Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers
Pungently real
The Times
In its exploration of the murderous and the mysterious, the mind's terrors and a vibrant Africa, this debut novel is heir to Chinua Achebe
New York Times, 100 Notable Books of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN
The guileless Ben is a well-chosen conduit for Obioma's frank and lyrical prose
The New Yorker
Invoke[s] older traditions and instances of storytelling and recasts them in a contemporary world, bringing to the fore the experiences and pressures of movement and migration
Guardian
Transcendent . . . Chigozie Obioma's second novel is a rare treasure: a book that deepens the mystery of the human experience
Seattle Times
Every so often - but not often enough - a book comes around to blow away the cobwebs and forget what it means to read a truly immersive story. Chigozie Obioma's An Orchestra Of Minorities is just that
The Pool
Fans of Ben Okri will enjoy Obioma's spirited dedication to remembering old beliefs as western modernity encroaches, and the world he creates is pungently real
The Times
Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to Chinua Achebe
New York Times Book Review
An Orchestra of Minorities is a stunning novel which succeeds on so many levels. This time around Obioma deserves every accolade that comes his way
The UAE National
Rich and vivid . . . Obioma's absorbing tragicomedy painfully probes the perils of victimhood
Anthony Cummins, Observer (New Review)
The chances that Chigozie Obioma's second novel would match, let alone surpass, The Fishermen were slim. Happily, his follow-up, AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES, is a triumph. . . . In an era of copycats, An Orchestra of Minorities is an unusual and brilliantly original book
Economist
Chigozie Obioma's debut novel combines reminiscence, recent history and the supernatural, with dazzling results . . .
Observer, Paperback of the Week on THE FISHERMEN
This promising debut spins a simple, almost mythological conceit into a heartbreaking elegy to Nigeria's lost promise . . . The book works on many levels. It is, at an obvious level, a Bildungsroman . . . a metaphorical allusion to the struggles of Nigeria's failed leaders...and yet it remains hopeful about the redemptive possibilities of a new generation
Helon Habila, Guardian on THE FISHERMEN
Chigozie Obioma pens a deeply empathetic, complex and gut-wrenchingly human narrative that captures the heart and soul. An Orchestra of Minorities stays with you. With remarkable style and compelling language, he explores what it means to experience blinding love and devastating loss. A truly gifted writer, Obioma has proven yet again that he's a literary treasure
Nicole Dennis-Benn, award-winning author of Here Comes the Sun
Heartbreaking and utterly unique
Vulture (Books You Should Read This January)
Almost every page [of An Orchestra of Minorities] trumpets the gifts of a writer who can make his language soar, wheel and pounce
Spectator
[An] impressive, epic second novel . . . Timely, portentous and powerful, [An Orchestra of Minorities] confirms Chigozie Obioma's remarkable talent
Lucy Scholes, iNews
A modern love story that painstakingly examines despair, destiny and human determination . . . The writing is lyrical in places, knife-sharp in others . . . My advice is just to dive straight in
Irish Times
An Orchestra of Minorities is a triumph: a wholly unsentimental epic that unspools smoothly over nearly a decade, it is set with equal success across two continents, employing myth and spirituality to create a vibrant new world . . . an unusual and brilliantly original book
The Economist
A twist on The Odyssey - [An Orchestra of Minorities is] narrated by a guardian spirit, traversing earth and space, but grounded in the universal themes of love, ambition and loss
Buzzfeed (Most Anticipated Books of 2019
Obioma fashions an allegory of post-independence Nigeria and the cruelties of the contemporary world . . . West Africa, with its pantheon of animist divinities and juju lore, is unforgettably evoked. You can almost smell the hot strong breath of the land in this brave gallimaufry of Greek myth and pre-colonial Igbo cosmology
Evening Standard
Intoxicating
Daily Mail
Chigozie Obioma is a gifted and original storyteller. His masterful new novel An Orchestra of Minorities is remarkable for its exploration of universal concepts to do with destiny, free will and luck
Jennifer Clement, National Book Award-longlisted author of Gun Love, President of PEN International
An acute, tender, painful and sometimes darkly funny story . . . about love, aspiration, betrayal, greed, dishonesty and the tribulations that the innocent and trusting may suffer
Allan Massie, The Scotsman
I predict it will be one of the most talked about books of next year. It certainly deserves to be. It surprised me most because it's a challenging read - it is set in Nigeria and the author uses a combination of English, Nigerian Pidgin and untranslated Igbo - and yet it is still a very compelling and emotionally-stimulating story. I couldn't put it down
Bustle
A boundary-breaking love story
Daily Mail
A mighty fry-up of pop-culture, fable and verbal invention
New Statesman on THE FISHERMEN
Perspectives in this novel change at the flap of a wing, darting between the earthly and the supernatural realms, between grand, atemporal ideas and tiny local details, in fluent prose that marries Igbo, pidgin and English . . . This book has both the singular inevitability of classical tragedy and the pellucid sense of injustice found in Chinua Achebe's fiction
Literary Review
Chigozie Obioma's first novel, laced Greek tragedy and African folklore into a withering allegory of contemporary Nigeria. The best debut of the year by some distance
Observer (Book of the Year 2015) on THE FISHERMEN
Narrated by a chi, a guardian spirit in Igbo myth, this novel follows Nonso, an ambitious Nigerian graduate who becomes trapped in Cyprus after falling for an education scam
Guardian
This year's most promising African newcomer may well prove to be Chigozie Obioma . . . The political implications of The Fishermen are obvious, though never ­overstated . . . In his exploration of the mysterious and the murderous, of the terrors that can take hold of the human mind, of the colors of life in Africa, with its vibrant fabrics and its trees laden with fruit, and most of all in his ability to create dramatic tension in this most human of African stories, Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to Chinua Achebe
New York Times Book Review on THE FISHERMEN
Obioma expands his canvas from the tragic to the epic
Daily Telegraph
As dark as Obioma's prose is, though, it's also beautiful. His use of language is rich and hypnotic, and nearly every page is filled with an unexpected and perfectly rendered description . . . an excellent debut that does a very good job wrestling with some extremely difficult themes. Chigozie Obioma writes with sophistication and inventiveness; he's obviously deeply in love with the English language, and it shows. This is a dark and beautiful book by a writer with seemingly endless promise
NPR.org on THE FISHERMEN
[A] startling and auspicious debut [with] echoes of past masters [and a] myriad of literary influences . . . I felt at times like I was reading Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Marquez . . . leaps off the pages
Mariella Frostrup, BBC Radio 4 Open Book
Awesome in the true sense of the word: crackling with life, freighted with death, vertiginous both in its style and in the elemental power of its story. Few novels deserve to be called 'mythic', but Chigozie Obioma's The Fishermen is certainly one of them. A truly magnificent debut
Eleanor Catton, Man Booker Prize-winning author of THE LUMINARIES on THE FISHERMEN
Igbo cosmology, classical western literature and the bitter pressures of globalisation combine for a visionary perspective on migration and the individual's place in the world
Guardian
Obioma's masterly debut novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker and won the FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award for Fiction
Financial Times, Best Books of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN
Unforgettable . . . A mesmerising page-turner
Image Magazine
One of the many delights of The Fishermen is how deeply multi-layered the narrative is . . . The Fishermen is a strikingly accomplished debut, hailing Chigozie Obioma as a bold new voice in Nigerian fiction. It comes as no surprise it's made this year's Man Booker Dozen, and I for one would be surprised and disappointed if it doesn't make the shortlist next month
Lucy Scholes, Independent on THE FISHERMEN
In its ambition to give a polyvalent, multiple account of Nigeria in the years before and after the millennium, The Fishermen establishes Obioma as a writer to be taken seriously
Stuart Kelly, TLS on THE FISHERMEN
[A] startling and auspicious debut [with] echoes of past masters [and a] myriad of literary influences . . . I felt at times like I was reading Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Marquez . . . leaps off the pages
Mariella Fostrup, BBC Radio 4 Open Book on THE FISHERMEN
In his ambitious follow-up, longlisted for this year's Booker prize, Chigozie Obioma scales up the canvas from tragic to epic, with the Odyssey-like tale of a man adrift from himself and from modern Nigeria
Daily Telegraph
The mysterious, mercurial nature of folklore is potently displayed in Chigozie Obioma's debut novel, The Fishermen . . . Mr. Obioma's long-limbed and elegant writing is shot through with strikingly elevated phrasings . . . "The Fishermen" is full of recent history, and it can be read as an allegory of the civic disarray in Nigeria under military rule. But it's also rich with ancient themes of filial love, fratricide, vengeance and fate. Its lessons may be slippery, but its power is unmistakable
Wall Street Journal on THE FISHERMEN
The Fishermen was an elegiac state-of-the-nation drama that fused Greek tragedy with Nigerian folklore . . . For his follow-up, Obioma scales up the canvas from tragic to epic, with the Odyssey-like tale of a man adrift from himself and from modern Nigeria
Telegraph
A lyrical retelling of the Cain-and-Abel story in which four Nigerian brothers play truant from school, go fishing and meet a soothsayer who predicts that one brother will kill another. Not yet 30, Chigozie Obioma is a writer to watch
The Economist (Best Books of the Year 2015) on THE FISHERMEN
Gorgeously written, with a twist of magical realism and a heavy dose of sad reality, this is your big novel of the winter
Washington Post
Obioma writes with gorgeous restraint reminiscent of the intricate prose in a Tolstoy novella. Every sentence delivers a precise and heartfelt blow. Hardly anyone writing today is delivering this level of intricacy, lyricism and control. Add to that, the urgency and importance of his message. It just doesn't get better than this. Get used to the name: Obioma is here to stay
Alexandra Fuller, author of DON'T LET'S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT on THE FISHERMEN
Unforgettable second novel . . . Obioma's novel is electrifying, a meticulously crafted character drama told with emotional intensity. His invention, combining Igbo folklore and Greek tragedy in the context of modern Nigeria, makes for a rich, enchanting experience
Publishers Weekly
Obioma's frenetically assured second novel is a spectacular artistic leap forwards . . . [it is] a linguistically flamboyant, fast-moving, fatalistic saga of one man's personal disaster . . . Few contemporary novels achieve the seductive panache of Obioma's heightened language, with its mixture of English, Igbo and colourful African-English phrases, and the startling clarity of the dialogue. The story is extreme; yet its theme is a bid for mercy for that most fragile of creatures - a human
Eileen Battersby, Guardian
Intricately wrought . . . a powerful, multifarious novel that underlines Obioma's status as one of the most exciting voices in modern African literature
FT