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41 Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nigerian Revelation...
This is a disturbing, haunting, confusing and strangely potent book. It is full of dreams and spirit journeys, where reality is confused with mythology and nothing is quite what it seems. And yet somehow this communicates more about the confused realities of post-colonial Nigeria than any history textbook could. At times it is hard to know which is the more terrifying...
Published 1 month ago by John Goddard

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 574 pages of chore
I began this book full of expectation; it was hailed as a modern classic, a seminal work. I was intrigued by the premise: a spirit child, destined to bring suffering to his parents through his many births and too-brief sojourns in the world of the living, decides to stay. I was expecting to love it. In the end, it turned out to be a disappointment.
The style is full...
Published on 3 Jun 2011 by Abigail Pepperell


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A famished tale, 9 Jun 2010
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
The kind of book you either love or hate, I guess, depending on how you respond to magic realism (or whatever moniker it's going under these days). I hated it. I found it tedious: the 'spirit' aspect felt inauthentic while the 'this world' narrative and characters felt lifeless and unimaginative.

Basically, it tells the story of Azaro, a spirit child (child with a close relationship to the spirit world) in a turbulent but modernising country that we understand is Nigeria (although to my recollection this is never stated).

I suppose the 'spirit world' aspect of the book represents the traditional culture of Nigeria which exists in parallel with the modern 'secular' society which is beginning to emerge (during the period of the narrative). I just wish the author hadn't got quite so caught up in the joy of describing its fabulous beings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different - Nothing Like It, 18 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
I read this book and asked if it was possible to maintain the rhythm, to keep a book as poetry in motion and Ben Okri delivered to the end. Highly recommended, I've never seen anything like it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so great, 10 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
I appear to be one of few, but this book utterly failed to captivate me. Too much colourful language and too many creepy-crawlies for creepy's sake. I found it depressing to read and could not get past the impression that the language was continuously embellished and adjectified to appear mysterious or mystic, I don't know. It just rubbed me the wrong way.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of potential, little result, 11 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
I don't think that there is any doubt that Okri is a good writer. There are passages in this novel which I found very moving. However, instead of weaving a picture of life growing up in an African village during independence, he plumps for a tale of mysticysm and folklore which becomes both grotesque and intensely irritating. But the most irritating and disappointing thing about this book is the waste of a potentially good story.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest novels of the 20th century, 24 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
It took two readings before I started to really appreciate this book, now I regard it as a work of almost religious importance and beauty. People have critisied it because they are reading it in the wrong manner, they have missed the point, they are skimming the surface. It is a not case of reading a page in order to reach the next one or chasing the plot in the hope of reaching something. The joy of this book is in reading each word and sentence, each fantastic and beautiful image should be allowed to wash over us and nourish our imaginations. This is not to say that Okri does not know how to tell a story. He at times weaves climaxes, revelations and moments of dramatic tension and relaxation together like a master of the art. The characters that populate the novel have depth and develpoment to rival anything I have read including Homer and Dickens. We see the world through the eyes of a child with incredible insight but free from jugement. There is a wonderful empathy and humor about his observations. There also is a huge importance about what we are shown. I could go on all day about this book, there is stuff here I haven't even mentioned. Give this book a try, for me it re-evaluated what can be achieved through the medium of literature.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 16 May 2014
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
a stunning example of magical realism before the genre became tired, and a key milestone of the foreign and commonwealth literature canon. Also a gripping work that picks you up and doesn't let you go for an instant. If you agree to take the journey you will love this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read but worth it ..., 31 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
I heard a small sample of this book being read on the radio and so thought I would try the book. Its unusual.. but good. I read alot and I have to say I found this difficult to get into but well worth it
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3.0 out of 5 stars Glad I persevered ..., 16 April 2013
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B. Robinson "Wyres" (Lancs, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
I'm glad that I persevered and read this huge book at 574 it's a long and at times very wordy book. I can see why it was a Booker prize winner. This is the first book in a trilogy and sad to say I'm reading it as a stand alone book as I doubt I could cope with two further books in the same style.

It's magical at times and is very much a fantasy style book. It's not an easy read in my opinion. At times you wonder what is happening and it is very repetitive. I can't say that much happens to be honest. It does give us some insight into the poverty that some people face in Nigeria, the customs and beliefs. I felt that it was at times quite atmospheric. It's also at times a little violent as landlords and tenants disagree about politics. The book touches on witchcraft and spells quite a lot and I felt that this added to the atmosphere of the story.

The book is about a spirit child called Azaro and his family and the hardships they suffer as they are very poor. Madame Koto the owner of a bar takes Azaro under her wings and hopes that he will encourage Customers to her bar but at times the Customers that he attracts aren't always the Customers that she would wish for, I felt that Madame Koto was one of the main characters in this book but wasn't a very likeable character at all.

If you like prize winning reads that are of the more unusual nature then this is the book for you. It's a book that you can dip in and out of quite easily, hence it taking me over four weeks to read as I read it alongside other books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the famished road., 20 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
It is a fascinating book, beautifully written and full of amazing descriptions, but I found it somewhat repetitive after a while.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Different, 1 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
The writing and langauge is excellent, not too sure about the theme though, have not finished reading the book yet but don't think I will read the other two books of the triology
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The Famished Road
The Famished Road by Ben Okri (Paperback - 6 Feb 1992)
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