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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You have never read a novel like this one. Winner of the 1991 Booker Prize for fiction, The Famished Road tells the story of Azaro, a spirit-child. Though spirit-children rarely stay long in the painful world of the living, when Azaro is born he chooses to fight death: "I wanted", he says, "to make happy the bruised face of the woman who would become my mother." Survival in his chaotic African village is a struggle, though. Azaro and his family must contend with hunger, disease and violence, as well as the boy's spirit- companions, who are constantly trying to trick him back into their world. Okri fills his tale with unforgettable images and characters: the bereaved policeman and his wife, who try to adopt Azaro and dress him in their dead son's clothes; the photographer who documents life in the village and displays his pictures in a cabinet by the roadside; Madame Koto, "plump as a mighty fruit", who runs the local bar; the King of the Road, who gets hungrier the more he eats.
At the heart of this hypnotic novel are the mysteries of love and human survival. "It is more difficult to love than to die", says Azaro's father, and indeed, it is love that brings real sharpness to suffering here. As the story moves toward its climax, Azaro must face the consequences of choosing to live, of choosing to walk the road of hunger rather than return to the benign land of spirits. The Famished Road is worth reading for its last line alone, which must be one of the most devastating endings in contemporary literature (but don't skip ahead). -- R. EllisReview:
"A brilliant read, unlike anything you have ever read before...the message is universal." -- Philip Howard, "The Times
"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
"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 everyday life -- is from ancient Greece and medieval romances." -- Robert Winder, "Independent
"Overwhelming...just buy it for its beauty." -- Jenny Turner, "New Statesman & Society
"From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Book Description Random House, London, 2009. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. Booker prize winner. Bookseller Inventory # 022494