Nominated by:

Universitäts-und Landesbibliothek Bonn, Germany

Jamaica Library Service, Kingston

Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna im. Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego w Łodzi, Poland

Houston Public Library, USA

Richmond Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Little, Brown & Company, USA


The Fishermen

Chigozie Obioma      

2017 Longlist

Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990’s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings.

What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family’s destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions-economic, political, and religious-and the epic beauty of its own culture.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Chigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria. His work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Transition and The Millions, among others. Obioma has lived in Nigeria, Cyprus, and Turkey, and currently resides in the United States, where he teaches Literature and Writing at the University of Nebraska. The Fishermen is his first novel.

Librarians’ Comments

This book has received numerous positive reviews. In addition, it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

An outstanding debut, The Fishermen follows four young brothers in this allegorical take, set in Akure, Nigeria. Declaring themselves fishermen, brothers Ikenna, Boja, Benjamin, and Obembe skip school to go fishing in a dangerous nearby river but after an encounter with the town’s madman they seemingly succumb one by one to his violent prophecy. Gripping and brutal, balanced with humor and warmth, the brothers are pitch perfect and the fracturing family will break your heart.

In the background, the novel shows the economic and religious problems which concern the inhabitants of Africa in a particular way. Readers from outside Africa, while reading the novel will find images and issues that might be haunting them.

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