An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma is a fictional book following a poultry farmer who is trying to better himself so he could marry a woman he loves. Mr. Obioma is a Nigerian author, whose first book, The Fisherman, was short listed for the Book Prize in 2015.
- 464 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316412392
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma is a very poetic book, but very challenging to read. The narrator of the book is the protagonist’s guardian spirit (chi), in what is basically a testimony on behalf of his host for a crime that he committed, may have committed, or committed in error.
If you read the first chapter carefully, or simply don’t skim it, you should be fine and understand who the spirits are, and the honorifics of the spirits world. The chi is trying to plead his case before Chukwo, the supreme Igbo god, we don’t know yet what Chinonso did, but we read how his life slowly unravels.
The characters in the book switch between Igbo (untranslated), Pidgin (Nigerian language), and English (“language of the white man”). Frankly I didn’t mind the switches (few as they were), since they made sense and made the book more real for me. I also found it amusing that a Nigerian author is writing about a Nigerian man being taken advantage of by Nigerian scammers, admitting out loud that it’s not only “white men” that are being targeted, but everyone with a few bucks in their pockets.
This is a dark book, the chi’s narration does add warmth to this tragic story, but the reader sees the darkness coming, and it’s almost disturbing that the chi didn’t see it in real time. I thought this book was worthwhile and compelling, a book which opens the door between two worlds but doesn’t answer if it’s a good thing.
Chinonso is a poultry farmer living in Nigeria, when his stops the suicide attempt of Ndali, an upper class, educated woman from a rich family. Even though the two want to get married, Ndali’s family opposes it.
Chinonso sells everything he owns, including his beloved chickens for a chance to go to school in Turkey, educate himself, and prove to Ndali’s family he is worthy of her. Arriving in Turkey, Chinonso discovers he had been scammed by a childhood friend.
And then the story starts to go downhill.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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