"Set in the Nigerian town of Akure in the 1990s, Chigozie Obioma’s first novel chronicles a family’s self-destruction in a time of the country’s political turmoil. Father has great dreams for his boys, but when he takes a job in a nearby city, neither he nor Mother (with not just a job but two younger children to take care of) are there with a voice of reason when things get out of hand. The four eldest boys meet up with Abulu, a rather crazed but tolerated presence in town, who proclaims to Ikenna that he will die at the hands of a fisherman. Now these boys like to fish, so Ike naturally thinks that his killer will be one of his brothers, most likely Boja. Nothing the other boys say will weaken his convictions, with Ike taunting Boja angrily until he does begin to show the hatred that was prophesied. And then there’s Obembe, who actually passed on the prophecy to Ike, and blames Abulu for the family problems. As the fourth brother Ben tells the story, weaving in political rivalries and cultural touchstones, detouring the narrative to retell the stories that built the family bonds that are now straying, The Fishermen becomes a story not just of one family, but of the powerful forces that create tensions, not just in Nigeria, but in any country, where belief and fact, loyalty and justice, all rub up against each other, creating dangerous sparks. It’s a story that slots itself in a particular place and time, but one which resonates and cautions like a timeless folk tale."— Daniel Goldin
A striking debut novel about an unforgettable childhood, by a Nigerian writer the New York Times has crowned "the heir to Chinua Achebe." 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 FISHERMEN is an essential novel about Africa, seen through the prism of one family's destiny.
About the Author
Chigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria. His work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Transition and The Millions, among others. Obioma has lived in Nigeria, Cyprus, and Turkey, and currently resides in the United States, where he teaches Literature and Writing at the University of Nebraska. The Fishermen is his first novel.