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.
"A dazzling achievement for any writer in any language."
--The New York Times Book Review
"A masterpiece if one ever existed."
--The Boston Globe
"Dazzling, hypnotic...a true feast for the word hungry."
--San Francisco Chronicle