The premise of the novel is both wonderful and shocking – how does the concept of prophecy shape our lives?
Set in 1990s Nigeria, political unrest is matched with personal unrest when the words of a madman destroy the powerful bonds between four young brothers. As the boys begin to run wild when their father is sent away to work, their newfound freedom is destroyed when local prophet Abulu implies that one brother will kill another.
What ensues is a shocking series of events. Even the power of love becomes fragile when suspicions grow in the home and their mother looks on hopelessly as the once close brothers are torn apart.
There is a truth to Obioma’s writing – his insight into characters and the world which they inhabit. His choice of narrator – young Benjamin whose innocence struggle to survive through the dark days – is exceptional. David’s love for his brothers is protected even after loss and betrayal. His childish insight into those around him is shaped by his understanding of the natural world – he compares his mother to a falconer, who looks after her sons in flight and the unstoppable words and presence of the madman Abulu as a leviathan.
Obioma’s prose also heralds him as one of the great writers of the future. Sensitive and exquisite, I often stopped to simply admire his words. Here is a born writer.
If this isn’t the book to read of 2015, I don’t know what will be. Please share this review – everyone deserves a chance to read this book.