An Orchestra of Minorities (Hardback)
  • An Orchestra of Minorities (Hardback)

An Orchestra of Minorities (Hardback)

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Hardback 528 Pages
Published: 17/01/2019
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Waterstones Says

Obioma’s reinterpretation of Igbo folklore intertwines with a vibrant updating of Homer’s Odyssey to create a myth-infused story of love and a life-plan gone awry. Delicate yet muscular, thoughtful yet dynamic, An Orchestra of Minorities churns with the wrench of heartache and the sacrifices we make for the ones we love.

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019

From the author of the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel, The Fisherman

Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice.

Bonded by this strange night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a small college in Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, he discovers that all is not what it seems. Furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further and further away from his dream, from Ndali and the place he called home.

In this contemporary twist of Homer's Odyssey, in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about the tension between destiny and determination.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9781408710807
Number of pages: 528
Weight: 815 g
Dimensions: 240 x 158 x 44 mm


A crucial journey into a heartache that is both mythical and real - Booker Prize Judges 2019

[An] impressive, epic second novel . . . Timely, portentous and powerful, [An Orchestra of Minorities] confirms Chigozie Obioma's remarkable talent - Lucy Scholes, iNews

Told in the wise and watchful, sometimes mischievous voice of the 'chi' or Igbo spirit guardian of Chinonso, a poor poultry farmer, this is a profoundly humane epic love story. Loosely based on the Odyssey, the trials and joys of Chinonso's journey exert a powerful hold on the reader's imagination, head and heart. A magnificent, original and revelatory novel - Booker Prize Judges 2019

Obioma's frenetically assured second novel is a spectacular artistic leap forwards . . . [it is] a linguistically flamboyant, fast-moving, fatalistic saga of one man's personal disaster . . . Few contemporary novels achieve the seductive panache of Obioma's heightened language, with its mixture of English, Igbo and colourful African-English phrases, and the startling clarity of the dialogue. The story is extreme; yet its theme is a bid for mercy for that most fragile of creatures - a human - Eileen Battersby, Guardian

Rich and vivid . . . Obioma's absorbing tragicomedy painfully probes the perils of victimhood - Anthony Cummins, Observer (New Review)

Obioma fashions an allegory of post-independence Nigeria and the cruelties of the contemporary world . . . West Africa, with its pantheon of animist divinities and juju lore, is unforgettably evoked. You can almost smell the hot strong breath of the land in this brave gallimaufry of Greek myth and pre-colonial Igbo cosmology - Evening Standard

An acute, tender, painful and sometimes darkly funny story . . . about love, aspiration, betrayal, greed, dishonesty and the tribulations that the innocent and trusting may suffer - Allan Massie, The Scotsman

Almost every page [of An Orchestra of Minorities] trumpets the gifts of a writer who can make his language soar, wheel and pounce - Spectator

Obioma has a masterful way with words - The Herald

A tale of mythic nature and epic scale at times recalling Homer's Odyssey - a sweeping story about destiny and the power of choice - Vanity Fair

An Orchestra of Minorities is a triumph: a wholly unsentimental epic that unspools smoothly over nearly a decade, it is set with equal success across two continents, employing myth and spirituality to create a vibrant new world . . . an unusual and brilliantly original book - The Economist

Intricately wrought . . . a powerful, multifarious novel that underlines Obioma's status as one of the most exciting voices in modern African literature - FT

An Orchestra of Minorities is a magisterial accomplishment by any measure, and particularly impressive for the way Obioma orchestrates a tableau in which humans and spirits must interact in a complex, emotionally rich-veined story. Few writers can match Obioma's astonishing range, his deft facility for weaving a mesmeric and triumphant fictive canvas in which - reminiscent of the ancient masters - a cohort of gods presides over and negotiates the fates of humans - Okey Ndibe, author of Foreign Gods, Inc.

Every so often - but not often enough - a book comes around to blow away the cobwebs and forget what it means to read a truly immersive story. Chigozie Obioma's An Orchestra Of Minorities is just that - The Pool

An ambitious and immersive tale about love and sacrifice, told by an ancient spirit. A bold new novel from an exciting young writer - Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers

Chigozie Obioma pens a deeply empathetic, complex and gut-wrenchingly human narrative that captures the heart and soul. An Orchestra of Minorities stays with you. With remarkable style and compelling language, he explores what it means to experience blinding love and devastating loss. A truly gifted writer, Obioma has proven yet again that he's a literary treasure - Nicole Dennis-Benn, award-winning author of Here Comes the Sun

Chigozie Obioma is a gifted and original storyteller. His masterful new novel An Orchestra of Minorities is remarkable for its exploration of universal concepts to do with destiny, free will and luck - Jennifer Clement, National Book Award-longlisted author of Gun Love, President of PEN International

An Orchestra of Minorities is a stunning novel which succeeds on so many levels. This time around Obioma deserves every accolade that comes his way - The UAE National

A twist on The Odyssey - [An Orchestra of Minorities is] narrated by a guardian spirit, traversing earth and space, but grounded in the universal themes of love, ambition and loss - Buzzfeed (Most Anticipated Books of 2019

Fans of Ben Okri will enjoy Obioma's spirited dedication to remembering old beliefs as western modernity encroaches, and the world he creates is pungently real - The Times

The chances that Chigozie Obioma's second novel would match, let alone surpass, The Fishermen were slim. Happily, his follow-up, AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES, is a triumph. . . . In an era of copycats, An Orchestra of Minorities is an unusual and brilliantly original book - Economist

Obioma expands his canvas from the tragic to the epic - Daily Telegraph

Destined to become a classic - HelloGiggles

There's no sign of difficult second novel syndrome here: this is a continent-spanning magical-realist tale of star-crossed love . . . intoxicating - Daily Mail

A modern take on Homer's The Odyssey, this Nigerian love story is filled with plot twists that demonstrate the power of persistence - Essence

Heartbreaking and utterly unique - Vulture (Books You Should Read This January)

Unforgettable . . . A mesmerising page-turner - Image Magazine

The Fishermen was an elegiac state-of-the-nation drama that fused Greek tragedy with Nigerian folklore . . . For his follow-up, Obioma scales up the canvas from tragic to epic, with the Odyssey-like tale of a man adrift from himself and from modern Nigeria - Telegraph

Igbo cosmology, classical western literature and the bitter pressures of globalisation combine for a visionary perspective on migration and the individual's place in the world - Guardian

Perspectives in this novel change at the flap of a wing, darting between the earthly and the supernatural realms, between grand, atemporal ideas and tiny local details, in fluent prose that marries Igbo, pidgin and English . . . This book has both the singular inevitability of classical tragedy and the pellucid sense of injustice found in Chinua Achebe's fiction - Literary Review

Unforgettable second novel . . . Obioma's novel is electrifying, a meticulously crafted character drama told with emotional intensity. His invention, combining Igbo folklore and Greek tragedy in the context of modern Nigeria, makes for a rich, enchanting experience - Publishers Weekly

A fast-moving romantic tragicomedy . . . It tells the heartbreaking story of a lovestruck Nigerian chicken farmer called Chinonso in present-day Nigeria, who sacrifices everything to win the heart of the woman he loves - Independent

A boundary-breaking love story - Daily Mail

Gorgeously written, with a twist of magical realism and a heavy dose of sad reality, this is your big novel of the winter - Washington Post

Invoke[s] older traditions and instances of storytelling and recasts them in a contemporary world, bringing to the fore the experiences and pressures of movement and migration - Guardian

I predict it will be one of the most talked about books of next year. It certainly deserves to be. It surprised me most because it's a challenging read - it is set in Nigeria and the author uses a combination of English, Nigerian Pidgin and untranslated Igbo - and yet it is still a very compelling and emotionally-stimulating story. I couldn't put it down - Bustle

A modern love story that painstakingly examines despair, destiny and human determination . . . The writing is lyrical in places, knife-sharp in others . . . My advice is just to dive straight in - Irish Times

Transcendent . . . Chigozie Obioma's second novel is a rare treasure: a book that deepens the mystery of the human experience - Seattle Times

In his ambitious follow-up, longlisted for this year's Booker prize, Chigozie Obioma scales up the canvas from tragic to epic, with the Odyssey-like tale of a man adrift from himself and from modern Nigeria - Daily Telegraph

[A] rich, rewarding book - Financial Times (Best Books of 2019)

Pungently real - The Times

Intoxicating - Daily Mail

Narrated by a chi, a guardian spirit in Igbo myth, this novel follows Nonso, an ambitious Nigerian graduate who becomes trapped in Cyprus after falling for an education scam - Guardian

Chigozie Obioma's first novel, laced Greek tragedy and African folklore into a withering allegory of contemporary Nigeria. The best debut of the year by some distance - Observer (Book of the Year 2015) on THE FISHERMEN

This year's most promising African newcomer may well prove to be Chigozie Obioma . . . The political implications of The Fishermen are obvious, though never ­overstated . . . In his exploration of the mysterious and the murderous, of the terrors that can take hold of the human mind, of the colors of life in Africa, with its vibrant fabrics and its trees laden with fruit, and most of all in his ability to create dramatic tension in this most human of African stories, Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to Chinua Achebe - New York Times Book Review on THE FISHERMEN

A lyrical retelling of the Cain-and-Abel story in which four Nigerian brothers play truant from school, go fishing and meet a soothsayer who predicts that one brother will kill another. Not yet 30, Chigozie Obioma is a writer to watch - The Economist (Best Books of the Year 2015) on THE FISHERMEN

If African literature ever got a book that represented the careful realities of being African without necessarily portraying Africa within the specifics of the western stereotype, it was definitely Chigozie Obioma's The Fishermen - The Afrodiaspora List: The Best African Novels of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN

Chigozie Obioma's debut novel combines reminiscence, recent history and the supernatural, with dazzling results . . . - Observer, Paperback of the Week on THE FISHERMEN

I just finished reading Chigozie Obioma's astonishing first novel . . . The writing is so crisp, the story so unusual, that I couldn't put the book down even though it disturbed me. It was written to disturb. Four brothers, conceived by their parents to become happy and successful men, become instead harbingers of immense torment and grief. Someone must have observed that it is our children who can break us, when all other systems of oppression have failed. That is part of the tidings of this remarkable, mythic, book - Alice Walker

[A] startling and auspicious debut [with] echoes of past masters [and a] myriad of literary influences . . . I felt at times like I was reading Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Marquez . . . leaps off the pages - Mariella Fostrup, BBC Radio 4 Open Book on THE FISHERMEN

This promising debut spins a simple, almost mythological conceit into a heartbreaking elegy to Nigeria's lost promise . . . The book works on many levels. It is, at an obvious level, a Bildungsroman . . . a metaphorical allusion to the struggles of Nigeria's failed leaders...and yet it remains hopeful about the redemptive possibilities of a new generation - Helon Habila, Guardian on THE FISHERMEN

The mysterious, mercurial nature of folklore is potently displayed in Chigozie Obioma's debut novel, The Fishermen . . . Mr. Obioma's long-limbed and elegant writing is shot through with strikingly elevated phrasings . . . "The Fishermen" is full of recent history, and it can be read as an allegory of the civic disarray in Nigeria under military rule. But it's also rich with ancient themes of filial love, fratricide, vengeance and fate. Its lessons may be slippery, but its power is unmistakable - Wall Street Journal on THE FISHERMEN

Part Bildungsroman, part Greek tragedy, The Fishermen may be the most interesting debut novel to emerge from Nigeria this year . . . In a first novel full of deceptive simplicity, lyrical language and playful Igbo mythology and humour, he uses the madman's apocalyptic vision for the family as a way of conjuring up Nigeria's senseless body politic . . . This is an impressive and beautifully imagined work - Economist on THE FISHERMEN

In its ambition to give a polyvalent, multiple account of Nigeria in the years before and after the millennium, The Fishermen establishes Obioma as a writer to be taken seriously - Stuart Kelly, TLS on THE FISHERMEN

A striking, controlled and masterfully taut debut - Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times on THE FISHERMEN

Obioma writes with gorgeous restraint reminiscent of the intricate prose in a Tolstoy novella. Every sentence delivers a precise and heartfelt blow. Hardly anyone writing today is delivering this level of intricacy, lyricism and control. Add to that, the urgency and importance of his message. It just doesn't get better than this. Get used to the name: Obioma is here to stay - Alexandra Fuller, author of DON'T LET'S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT on THE FISHERMEN

Awesome in the true sense of the word: crackling with life, freighted with death, vertiginous both in its style and in the elemental power of its story. Few novels deserve to be called 'mythic', but Chigozie Obioma's The Fishermen is certainly one of them. A truly magnificent debut - Eleanor Catton, Man Booker Prize-winning author of THE LUMINARIES on THE FISHERMEN

Obioma´s remarkable fiction is at once urgently, vividly immediate, yet simultaneously charged with the elemental power of myth - Peter Ho Davies, author of THE WLESH GIRL on THE FISHERMEN

The guileless Ben is a well-chosen conduit for Obioma's frank and lyrical prose - The New Yorker

One of the many delights of The Fishermen is how deeply multi-layered the narrative is . . . The Fishermen is a strikingly accomplished debut, hailing Chigozie Obioma as a bold new voice in Nigerian fiction. It comes as no surprise it's made this year's Man Booker Dozen, and I for one would be surprised and disappointed if it doesn't make the shortlist next month - Lucy Scholes, Independent on THE FISHERMEN

A mighty fry-up of pop-culture, fable and verbal invention - New Statesman on THE FISHERMEN

In its exploration of the murderous and the mysterious, the mind's terrors and a vibrant Africa, this debut novel is heir to Chinua Achebe - New York Times, 100 Notable Books of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN

Obioma's masterly debut novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker and won the FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award for Fiction - Financial Times, Best Books of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN

It is brimming with life and buzzing with emotion but at the same time it carries a deeply poignant quality: Obioma has a deep understanding of recent Nigerian history - Nick Barley, Director Edinburgh International Book Festival in The Herald, Best Books of 2015 on THE FISHERMEN

As dark as Obioma's prose is, though, it's also beautiful. His use of language is rich and hypnotic, and nearly every page is filled with an unexpected and perfectly rendered description . . . an excellent debut that does a very good job wrestling with some extremely difficult themes. Chigozie Obioma writes with sophistication and inventiveness; he's obviously deeply in love with the English language, and it shows. This is a dark and beautiful book by a writer with seemingly endless promise - on THE FISHERMEN

Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to Chinua Achebe - New York Times Book Review

I just finished reading Chigozie Obioma's astonishing first novel . . . The writing is so crisp, the story so unusual, that I couldn't put the book down - Alice Walker

[A] startling and auspicious debut [with] echoes of past masters [and a] myriad of literary influences . . . I felt at times like I was reading Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Marquez . . . leaps off the pages - Mariella Frostrup, BBC Radio 4 Open Book

An Orchestra of Minorities is a deft reimagining of Homer's Odyssey with Nigerian Igbo traditions at its forefront. This ingenious realignment not only highlights the tensions between Western and African philosophies, but also breathes life back into a vibrant history of "precious African knowledge that has been lost" - Evening Standard

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“Epic novel about love, deceit and betrayal...”

This powerful and inventive book told through a “ chi” , a guardian spirit of Nigerian Igbo beliefs. It takes on a story often told ; poor man falls in love with a woman above his status and he promises to do well to... More

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