This book almost broke me and ate me.
I went to bed after reading the first twenty pages of it and I dreamt about chasing an antelope with a broken horn which jumped out the window I, in turn, was being chased by a wild boar covered in blood which spoke in a human voice There was also a flying carpet.
I don t really like magical realism but this book didn t care I was gonna have it whether I liked it or not It swept me away before I knew it By the end of it I would read about a man who slept for two months and not bat an eye Only a little later I would think wait a minute, people can t sleep for two months straight That s not possible, they have to eat and stuff As any other book of magical realism The Famished Road is elliptical The ch A boy sat down to read a book, but when he looked closely, it was not a book, but a person The person had green skin and roller skates for eyes A lizard with a head as big as the moon scuttled over and sniffed the green skinned person What are you looking at the person asked the boy I thought you were a book, the boy said No, the person said, I am a metaphor or magical realism or some shit I dunno But I have roller skates for eyes, that s pretty cool The boy shrugs You re mum is a metaphor, he said Then he yawned and before too long, he was asleep When he woke up the book that had became a person was now a midget with alligator legs, and the midget sat on the back of a parakeet with five heads This sort of crap continued for what felt like five thousand pages, with occasional glacially Just didn t feel the love for this I hate long accounts of dreams in novels and magical realism can be like reading an endless succession of dreams I like the laws of gravity to hold fast in the novels I read so this started off at a big disadvantage where my reading preferences are concerned One of the few novels I ve ever failed to finish is Midnight s Children In short, this is a novel about an African community struggling and failing to be born, the community a microcosm of Africa itself As a subject this poses huge plot problems the one step forward, two steps backwards dynamic and I never felt Okri mastered this problem of momentum The novel kept collapsing in on itself for me My feeling was it could have been a fabulous 200 page novella but at 500 pages prerequisite length to win the Booker prize it severely tested my patience Towards the end of the book, in Chapter 12 of Book 7, the author states quite clearly what seems to be his intended message The spirit child is an unwilling adventurer into chaos and sunlight, into the dreams of the living and the dead Things that are not ready, not willing to be borne or to become, things for which adequate preparations have not been made to sustain their momentous births, things that are not resolved, things bound up with failure and with fear of being, they all keep recurring, keep coming back, and in themselves partake of the spirit child s condition They keep coming and going till their time is right History itself fully demonstrates how things of the world partake of the condition of the spirit child.
There are many who are of this condition and do not know it There are many nations, civilizations, ideas,
a monstrously beautiful piece of literature.
a must read before you dieDecided to add two comments thatI gave to two Goodreads friends since I wrote such a flimsy little fragments in 2013 when I was not writing reviews This book is so unbelievable I have never read a book that was like one long dream sequence full of wonder, beauty and ugliness It is incredible This is in my top ten books of all time You will die from the wonder I cannot put into words the impact this book has had on me I ponder on it frequently It is one of those books that I really cannot believe was written by human means.
The Decade Since It Won The Booker Prize, Ben Okri S Famished Road Has Become A Classic Like Salman Rushdie S Midnight S Children Or Gabriel Garcia Marquez S One Hundred Years Of Solitude, It Combines Brilliant Narrative Technique With A Fresh Vision To Create An Essential Work Of World LiteratureThe Narrator, Azaro, Is An Abiku, A Spirit Child, Who In The Yoruba Tradition Of Nigeria Exists Between Life And Death The Life He Foresees For Himself And The Tale He Tells Is [Ben Okri] Þ The Famished Road [animal-fiction PDF] read Online Ý Full Of Sadness And Tragedy, But Inexplicably He Is Born With A Smile On His Face Nearly Called Back To The Land Of The Dead, He Is Resurrected But In Their Efforts To Save Their Child, Azaro S Loving Parents Are Made Destitute The Tension Between The Land Of The Living, With Its Violence And Political Struggles, And The Temptations Of The Carefree Kingdom Of The Spirits Propels This Latter Day Lazarus S Story ☆ The Famished Road ☆ I am within sight of finishing my occasional project to read all of the Booker winners I have to say that I have very mixed feelings about this It is undoubtedly striking and very different to any of the other winners, but it could have been better for me it seemed too long and a little too self indulgent The reader is also expected to swallow a lot of African folklore.
There are only four main characters The narrator Azari is a spirit child, and at every crisis point he journeys into the spirit world of the forest, into nightmarish scenes populated by weird spirit creatures, who want him to die and return to their world The other main characters are his parents, referred to simply as Mum and Dad, and Mada The whole of human history is an undiscovered continent deep in our souls.
The linearity of narrative is a relatively recent innovation in storytelling, rather like perspective in painting it is not integral to the art Myths, our oldest examples of the narrative art, are not linear They spread across time and space in all directions, with times past, present and future seamlessly intermingling, and the real world cohabiting the imaginary one with people travelling across the boundary effortlessly I think this istrue of the so called primitive societies muchthan the civilised ones Africa being the best example.
Ben Okri s The Famished Road has been called a novel written using the techniques of magical realism I would say that if this magical realism, then it is magical realism on meth This novel is Kafka Oh my dear lord, how I hated The Famished Road Friends don t let friends read this book I only finished it because I was trekking in Nepal with no alternative English language book for miles upon miles In my personal hell, this is the only book in the library.
This book almost broke me and ate me.