The Famished Road

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surreal book


In 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 literature.

The 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 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.


In that land of beginnings spirits mingled with the unborn. We could assume numerous forms. Many of us were birds. We knew no boundaries. There was much feasting, playing, and sorrowing. We feasted mu...

About the Author:

BEN OKRI's books have won several awards including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Africa, the Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and the prestigious International Literary Prize Chianti Rufino-Antico Fattore 1993. The Famished Road won the Booker Prize in 1991. He…

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magic realism, disturbing books, dark...More

This is probably my all time favorite magical realism novel. I loved this story and the other books in the trilogy are just as brilliant.

4/17/2023 11:21:55 AM
coming of age, books about death, character driven...More

Azaro, a child who has been born many times decides not to break his mother's heart this time around.

This story is rich in Yoruba spirituality and the exploration of the spirit world, a world of fantasy for those who may not be familiar with Yoruba spirituality but a real world to millions of West African people.

Ben Okri won a Booker for this superb work.

1 reader liked this
12/2/2022 10:54:27 PM

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