To enter the world of Ben Okri's stories is to surrender to a new reality. Set in the chaotic streets of Lagos and the jungle heart of Nigeria, all the laws of cause and effect, fact and fiction, are suspended. It is a world where the lives of the powerless veer terrifyingly close to nightmare. In rich, lyrical, almost hallucinatory prose Ben Okri guides us through the fabulous and the mundane, the serene and the randomly violent. The unrelenting Nigerian heat and the implacable darkness of the black-out and the military curfew are the backdrops for his characters each finding their own ways to survive. We witness their dogged resistance to impotence, their unquenchable humour and their insistence on the possibility of love in the face of terror. Written with the lucid clarity and logic of dream, Stars of the New Curfew is a book of visionary imagination.
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(198mm x 129mm x 13mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
Nigerian writer Okri's stories are all set in his native country, either in the astounding human welter of modern Lagos or the more animistic yet no less brutalized hinterlands. Official corruption, military brutality, alcoholism, power failures, nightmarish urban over. crowding - Okri's tales trade in these routinely, in a terse, clenched, often telescopic style. Particularly degraded here (as in "In the City of Red Dust" and "When The Lights Return") are the normal relations between men and women: in Okri's world no longer is there ease or even desire, only mouths full of ashes. "Tapster" poignantly encapsulates the economic changes (and cruel governments they engender) that drive an underdeveloped country schizoid. But by far the best thing here, filled with real flavors rather than abstract glints, is the title story, about a salesman of a worthless cure-all medicine, living on the tightrope of people's wishes to believe they have some control of their fate and their cynical disbelief as well. Lagos pulses off the pages (especially in a scene set on an unfortunate bus), and it's here that Okri's clipped stylistics work to best effect. Different work, slightly mannered but often compelling. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ben Okri
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.