The Famished Road
A NovelWinner of the Man Booker Prize: “Okri shares with García Márquez a vision of the world as one of infinite possibility. . . . A masterpiece” (The Boston Sunday Globe).
Azaro is a spirit child, an abiku, existing, according to the African tradition, between life and death. Born into the human world, he must experience its joys and tragedies. His spirit companions come to him often, hounding him to leave his mortal world and join them in their idyllic one. Azaro foresees a trying life ahead, but he is born smiling. This is his story.
When President Bill Clinton first went to Africa he quoted from The Famished Road, which has inspired literature, art, politics, and pop songs—and even been referenced in an episode of The Simpsons. A transformative story for all ages and all times, it means many things to many people. Few contemporary novels have aroused as much passion as this one. Indeed, twenty-five years after its breakout publication, the iconic story of Azaro’s travels continues to mesmerize new generations.
For readers of Things Fall Apart or One Hundred Years of Solitude, this Man Booker Prize–winning blend of fabulism and gritty realism by the Nigerian author of Astonishing the Gods and Dangerous Love is a “dazzling, hypnotic” journey through Africa that “weaves the humblest detail with the most extravagant flight of fancy to create an astonishing fictional tapestry” (San Francisco Chronicle). Already considered a classic of world literature, it is “a masterpiece if ever one existed” (The Boston Sunday Globe).
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“A dazzling achievement for any writer in any language.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Dazzling, hypnotic . . . The Famished Road weaves the humblest detail with the most extravagant flight of fantasy to create an astonishing fictional tapestry.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A mesmerizing vision of modern Nigeria . . . A quintessential African novel.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A stunning work, suspenseful and haunting, the product of one of the lushest imaginations in the world.” —The Plain Dealer
“Okri is incapable of writing a boring sentence. As one startling image follows the next, The Famished Road begins to read like an epic poem that happens to touch down just this side of prose. . . . When I finished the book and went outside, it was as if all the trees of South London had angels sitting in them.” —Linda Grant, TheIndependent on Sunday
“A brilliant read, unlike anything you have ever read before . . . The message is universal.” —The Times (London)
“Overwhelming . . . Just buy it for its beauty.” —New Statesman
“This is a book to generate apostles. People will be moved and, stars in their eyes, will pass on the word.” —Time Out London
“In a magnificent feat of sustained imaginative writing, Okri spins a tale that is epic and intimate at the same time. The Famished Road rekindled my sense of wonder. It made me, at age 50, look at the world through the wide eyes of a child.” —Michael Palin
“Make no mistake. Okri, a Nigerian, is a genius who has written a book about a mystical world that many of us in the west cannot understand, but, at least, can appreciate.” —Charles Larson, CounterPunch
About the author
Ben Okri (b. 1959) has published ten novels, including The Famished Road and Starbook, as well as collections of poetry, short stories, and essays. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, he has received numerous international awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize, and the Chianti Ruffino Antico Fattore International Literary Prize. He is a vice president of PEN International’s English Centre and was presented with a Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. Born in Nigeria, Okri now lives in London.