Books Reviews

Book Review: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

“I once heard that when fear takes possession of the heart of a person it diminishes them. This could be said of my brother, for when the fear took possession of his heart, it robbed him of many things – his peace, his well-being, his relationships, his health and even his faith.”

The Fishermen tells the story of four young brothers (the oldest fifteen and the youngest nine) in a small town in Western Nigerian, Akure.  The boys use their strict father’s absence from home to go fishing at a forbidden local river where they encounter a dangerous local madman who predicts that the oldest brother will be killed by another. This prophesy breaks their strong bond and unleashes a tragic chain of events.

The Review 

When I first read a review citing Chigozie Obioma to be the heir of Chinua Achebe’s writing it felt like a reach. Achebe is in a class of his own and I’ve read Anthills of the Savannah (a classic novel!) more times than I care to count because for me it’s the best example of how to write a great tragedy.  With that said, after finishing ‘The Fishermen’ I take my words back. This is fine storytelling at its best.  The premise of the novel is simple but it provides an emotionally heart-wrenching journey for the reader thanks to its author. There were moments where I had to stop reading just to reflect on the beauty of the writing and appreciate it.

Even on a second read, the emotions were fresh and I cried at the death of one of the major characters. This novel is a treat! The voice is authentic, the writing raw and despite its genre, it’s a book that will leave you feeling hopeful by the end.

Top Three Quotes

“I have now come to know that what one believes often becomes permanent, and what becomes permanent can be indestructible.”

“Hatred is a leech, the thing that sticks to a person’s skin, that feeds off them and drains the sap out of one’s spirit. It changes a person, and does not leave until it has sucked the last drop of peace from them. It clings to one’s skin, the way a leech does, burrowing deeper and deeper into the epidermis, so that to pull the parasite off the skin is to tear out that part of the flesh, and to kill it is self-flagellating.”

“Ikenna was a fragile delicate bird, he was a sparrow. He nailed small things to big crosses and would ponder for long on a wrong word he said to someone.”


✯✯✯✯✯- Life Companion. Thank me later!

Guide to Book Review Rating
✯ – Meh
✯✯ – Read at your own risk
✯✯✯ – Hit and Miss
✯✯✯✯- Hooked
✯✯✯✯✯- Life Companion. Thank me later!


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