Annabel Davis-Goff
July 17, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Famished Road

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Ben Okri
publisher
Doubleday
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

Ben Okri, winner of Britain’s 1991 Booker Prize for The Famished Road, is a Nigerian writer who lives in London. With his fifth book he has constructed a long, meticulous, and ambitious novel suffused with magic realism. Azaro, the narrator, is a spirit child who chooses to stay in the world of the living rather than, as his fellow spirits do, die young and return to the idyllic world he came from. His Mum, a resigned woman who peddles provisions, and Dad, a porter who aspires to become a reform politician, are metaphors for the character of an emerging nation, as is Madame Koto, the owner of the local bar, whose size increases as she becomes richer and more corrupt. A poetic and powerful exploration of the human spirit, indomitable yet helplessly surrounded by conflicting and often invisible powers. A

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