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Review An Orchestra of Minorities

An Orchestra of Minorities

A contemporary twist on the Odyssey An Orchestra of Minorities is narrated by the chi or spirit of a young poultry farmer named Chinonso His life is set off course when he sees a woman who is about to jump off a bridge Horrified by her recklessness he hurls two o. A story should glide like a yacht not bump along like a supermarket trolley MeHaving seen a profusion of rapturous reviews for this African tale I had very high hopes And what a gorgeous title too I was beguiled and ready to be seduced Let me at it I criedHurrr rrr chh A screech of brakes or a needle skidding on vinylAlas I just didn t take to it I know I m a fusspot but I really didn t warm to it And for that I m truly sorryThe omniscient narrator a guardian spirit waffled on in a simplistic writing style that had me rolling my eyes and wishing we could bring a resuscitation team of literary greats back from the dead The first few chapters were all exposition and there was nothing here that resembled an actual story Our ethereal narrator kept repeating I had seen it many times To which I retorted Yes you ve said it many times too you insufferable parrotAnd relaxNamasteSo while the cosmic blather continued with little sign of anything resembling dialogue or human interaction on the horizon I shimmied into a lifebuoy and prepared to jump ship Happily a story began to emerge And a very promising one at that a tale of Nonso Olisa an ill starred Nigerian poultry farmer who falls in love with a woman who as a result of being jilted was intent on throwing herself off a bridgeAh ha That s like it I cheered casting off my lifebuoy and getting myself nice and comfyAuspiciously the author began to move through his literary gears fashioning a contemporary Greek tragedy that suggested it might finally live up to its star billing and what eventually happens to our unworldly chicken farmer when he relocates to Cyprus is a complete volte face from the book s uneventful opening chapters The scene was set and I was ready to give it a second chanceBut d oh Again with the exposition Chigozie Obiama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory by reintroducing yet explanatory notes groan that are surely surplus to reuirements There s a potentially moving human story here that needs to be told A thorough edit and word cull would have done this novel a power of good The story continued to advance like a slug through treacle and despite his terrible woes I lost all sympathy for the hapless main character he was largely the architect of his own downfall I rooted for Ndali the lady from the bridge much The pacing throughout remained leaden and I really struggled to get to the finishing line In my humble opinion Salman Rushdie Midnight s Children and Gabriel Garc a M ruez One Hundred Years of Solitude do first person and third person narrative storytelling so much better But as you can see by its plethora of laudatory reviews Chigozie Obiama s book delights a great many of his readers so I m almost certain you should take what I ve said with a pinch of salt and dive right inHave a lifebuoy ready though just in case

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F his prized chickens off the bridge The woman Ndali is stopped in her tracksChinonso and Ndali fall in love but she is from an educated and wealthy family When her family objects to the union on the grounds that he is not her social eual he sells most of his pos. Based upon Nigerian Igbo beliefs each being has a chi a guardian spirit A chi has gone through many cycles of reincarnation and is familiar with earthy challenges In the present cycle of life Chinonso Solomon Olisa is a host His chi the book s commentator tries to intercede to testify to Chukwu Creator of All that Nonso has committed a grave crime but unknowinglyNonso was a man of silence He felt total emptiness and perpetual loneliness His father died leaving him in charge of their poultry farm His pet gosling died through an act of revenge performed by catapulting a stone Raising fowl suited Nonso These domestic creatures were weak animals and he enjoyed ministering to them On the way home from market with a new flock his comrades in his truck he witnessed a young woman scaling a bridge over the Amatu River planning her demise Nonso instantly reacted by throwing two of his chickens from the bridge to show her what would happen if she jumped He talked her down after all he understood despair His chi suggested he proceed home In retrospect Nonso felt he hadn t done enough to help her A chance meetinga connectionlonely uneducated farmer meets girl of his dreamshighly educated Ndali Obialor feels truly cherishedit s love Ndali and her family live in a mansion with marble floors Ndali however has a mind of her own Chi is worried that the budding love between Nonso and Ndali will make Nonso disregard his counsel In order to be worthy of Ndali but against her wishes and protests Nonso leaves his poultry farm in Nigeria and travels to north Cyprus seeking higher education and lifestyle change in the name of loveNonso s chi s testimony to Chukwu includes a recounting of Nonso s trials and tribulations in his uest for betterment Chi explains that although as a spirit being he left his host s body in search of consultation to benefit his host he could not interfere We should allow man to execute his will and be manAn Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma left me speechless breathless and filled with awe The prose in this work of magical realism was superb I slowly savored this remarkable yet harsh and devastating tale I highly recommend this bookThank you Little Brown and Company and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review An Orchestra of Minorities

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Sessions to attend college in Cyprus But when he arrives in Cyprus he discovers that he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who has made the arrangements for him Penniless homeless we watch as he gets further and further away from his dream and from home. Beautiful writing and interesting philosophy totally wasted on a book that doesn t think of women as people Nothing but a litany of excuses for a man s violence being let loose on a woman he supposedly loves Every terrible wrong in his life of which she was not actor or creator being brought to her doorThis is nature This is how a man is This is what a man does On on on not uestioning not pushing not offering a different vision of the world Sexual violence against the male protagonist is elided and not looked at yet we are shown and met to sympathize him pushing past a woman s nos to fuck her without a condom of him obsessively and angrily fantasizing about men touching a woman he is no longer with in tit biting detail his woman had yielded to another man Forgives is available to those who have truly wronged him but not to a woman who dares to be loved by him not wait for him eternallyI was drawn in by the philosophy by the discussion of the nature of the world of the way Igbo culture might fit into a modern context unfortunately the narrative underneath was stale garbage retreading on the same goddamn bullshit where a women s pain is meaningless where a woman is nothing but an object on which love in enacted where we must start already hearing excuses for why violence against her should be forgiven Fuck this Fuck every second of reading it


10 thoughts on “An Orchestra of Minorities

  1. says:

    Agbatta Alumalu the fathers of old say that without light a person cannot sprout shadows My host fell in love with this woman She came as a strange sudden light that caused shadows to spring from everything else Wow How do I

  2. says:

    A story should glide like a yacht not bump along like a supermarket trolley —MeHaving seen a profusion of rapturous reviews for this African tale I had very high hopes And what a gorgeous title too I was beguiled and ready to be seduced Let me at it I criedHurrr rrr chh A screech of brakes or a needle skidding on vinylAlas I just didn't take to it I know I'm a fusspot but I really didn’t warm to it And for that I'm t

  3. says:

    If the prey do not produce their version of the tale the predators will always be the heroes in the story of the hunt says the uotation which opens this unusual and beautiful novel; and indeed we come to understand that the

  4. says:

    Based upon Nigerian Igbo beliefs each being has a chi a guardian spirit A chi has gone through many cycles of reincarnation and is familiar with earthy challenges In the present cycle of life Chinonso Solomon Olisa is a host His chi the book's commentator tries to intercede to testify to Chukwu Creator of All that Nonso has committed a grave crime but unknowinglyNonso was a man of silence He felt total emptiness and p

  5. says:

    Right from the start of An Orchestra of Minorities we know that the main character Nonso a humble poultry farmer h

  6. says:

    Now Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019I feel torn between the considerable merit of this tale about the loss of dignity and the fact that I had a very hard time finishing the book because of its repetitiveness and its excessive love for overly detailed descriptions For what it has to say this novel is at least 200 pages too lon

  7. says:

    Beautiful writing and interesting philosophy totally wasted on a book that doesn't think of women as people Nothing but a litany of excuses for a man's violence being let loose on a woman he supposedly loves Every terrible wrong in his life of which she was not actor or creator being brought to her doorThis is nature This is how a man is This is what a man does On on on not uestioning not pushing not offering a different vision of the world

  8. says:

    Anti hero? CheckDramatic irony? CheckHomer’s Odyssey? Not so much All who have been chained and beaten whose lands have been plundered whose civilizations have been destroyed who have been silenced raped shamed a

  9. says:

    Now shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize having been re read following its longlistingAs part of my re read I came across two articles in the Millions by the author which I found very helpful for understanding the writing style that the author has deployed is and it’s very deliberate contrast in its expansive prose and layers of reality to what he sees as the minimalism and literalness that has come to dominate much Western literature B

  10. says:

    This is a beautifully written story a love story an odyssey and ultimately a tragedy Set in Umuahi Nigeria and Cyprus it is the life story of Chinonso Solomon Olisa a young poultry farmer who falls in love with a beautiful young wo

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