The Famished Road

The Famished Road

Paperback Vintage Books

By (author) Ben Okri

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 592 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 42mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 27 July 1992
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099929309
  • ISBN 13: 9780099929307
  • Sales rank: 45,429

Product description

Azaro is a spirit child who is born only to live for a short while before returning to the idyllic world of his spirit companions. Now he has chosen to stay in the world of the living. This is his story.

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Author information

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 was born in Minna, Nigeria.

Review quote

"Overwhelming - just buy it for its beauty" New Statesman "A brilliant read, unlike anything you have ever read before...the message is universal" The Times "It is a rich, provocative and hopeful vision of the world, stuffed full of drama and surprise-its literary lineage - the ease with which spirits move through every day life - is from ancient Greece and medieval romances" Independent "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 Independent on Sunday

Editorial reviews

Like one of those populous medieval paintings of the Last Judgment, the African ghetto of the Nigerian-born Okri (Stars of the New Curfew, 1989), winner of the 1991 Booker Prize, not only teems with lives and spirits both sacred and profane, but contains profound truths - all described in rich, often lyrical prose. The narrator of this tale of life in a ghetto on the eve of independence is Azaro, a "spirit-child" who belonged to a group of spirit children who did not look forward to being born: they "disliked the rigors of existence, the unfulfilled longings of the world, and the amazing indifference of the Living in the midst of the simple beauties of the universe." Tired of being born and dying so many times, Azaro chooses to live, perhaps "because I wanted to make happy the bruised face of the woman who would become my mother." And live he does, but his name Azaro/Lazarus is not coincidental: he is constantly battling disease, disaster, and the spirits who try to recapture him. The ghetto itself is a harsh world of endemic poverty, crime, and political chicanery as local bullies vie to establish their political factions. Hovering in the background is the mysterious but helpful photographer; the enigmatic and powerful Madame Koto; and the malevolent blind singer, as well as a slew of good and bad spirits. Meanwhile, Azaro's parents' lives are a constant struggle; but as the election nears, Azaro's father enjoys a brief success, and in a subsequent vision proclaims that life is a road we're building that does lead to death but also to "wonderful things" for "so long as we are alive, so long as we feel, so long as we love, everything in us is an energy we can use." There is at last a moment of serenity, and Azaro savors the sweetness that has dissolved his fears: "I was not afraid of time." Long in the telling, like a great epic poem, Okri's tale is a beautifully rendered allegory, enriched by its African setting, of love powerful enough to defy even death and his minions. (Kirkus Reviews)