A heart-breaking story about a Nigerian poultry farmer who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves, by Man Booker Finalist and author of The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma.
Set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit, AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped her in her tracks.
Bonded by this night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family and struggles to imagine a future near a chicken coop. When her family objects to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But when he arrives he discovers there is no place at the school for him, and that he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who has made the arrangements.. Penniless, homeless, and furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further away from his dream, from Ndali and the farm he called home.
Spanning continents, traversing the earth and cosmic spaces, and told by a narrator who has lived for hundreds of years, the novel is a contemporary twist of Homer's Odyssey. Written in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about destiny and determination.
Named a 'Most Anticipated Book of 2019' by Entertainment
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Named one of '11 Writers to Watch in 2019' by the Los Angeles Times
, with a twist of magical
realism and a heavy dose of sad reality, this is your big novel of the
. . . Chigozie Obioma's second
novel is a rare treasure:
a book that deepens the mystery of the human
experience."—David Takami, Seattle Times"Igbo and Greek mythology are braided into
this heartbreaking and utterly unique novel"
—Boris Kacka, Vulture
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
—Eileen Battersby, Guardian"A mystical epic...confirms his place among
a raft of literary stars."
"Obioma writes with an exigent precision that
makes AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES feel at once timely and speculative. The
novel aches with Chinonso. His triumphs are rare and hard-won. Obioma compels
the reader to root for him, to see the poor chicken farmer's story as an epic."—The Atlantic
"It is more than a superb and tragic novel; it's a historical
"It's a story as old
as the epic."—New York Times Book Review
remains interesting and important"—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The chances that Chigozie Obioma's second novel
would match, let alone surpass, "The Fishermen," were slim. Happily, his
follow-up, AN ORCHESTRA
is a triumph. . . . In an era of copycats, "An Orchestra of Minorities" is an
unusual and brilliantly original book."—The Economist
"His is a bracing and
searing work that compresses an ordinary life into an epic journey."—Houston Chronicle
"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"Destined to become a classic."
"A multicultural fable that heralds a new master of
magical realism. . . . It's a special writer who can take the familiar tropes
found within AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES
and infuse them with new life,
transforming them into something exciting and unexpected. Happily, Obioma is
exactly such an author."
—Bookpage, starred review
A deeply original book that will have readers laughing at, angry with, and feeling compassion for a determined hero who endeavors to create his own destiny.—Kirkus, starred review
"Obioma overwhelms readers with a visceral sense of
Chinonso's humanity, his love, his rage, and his despair as he struggles
between fate and self-determination."
—Library Journal, starred review
alchemizes his contemporary love story into a mythic quest enhanced by Igbo
cosmology. . . . Magnificently multilayered, Obioma's sophomore title proves to
be an Odyssean achievement."—Booklist, starred reviews
"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, starred review
imaginative, heartbreaking, and worth the read."—Los Angeles Review of Books
"a passionate argument for the enduring vitality of indigenous culture."—New Yorker
language is rich and vivid... Obioma's absorbing tragicomedy painfully probes the
perils of victimhood."—Gulf New Entertainment
"This is a powerful, multifarious novel that underlines Obioma's status
as one of the most exciting voices in modern African literature."—Financial Times
"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, New York Times bestselling author of The Mothers
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, author of Gun Love and President of PEN International
Obioma is an audacious and ambitious writer, and quite adept at binding the
reader to the irresistible spells he casts. An Orchestra of
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.
Obioma pens a deeply empathetic, complex, and gut-wrenchingly human narrative
that captures the heart and soul. An Orchestra of Minorities
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