Monday, 3 February 2014

The Famished Road - #49

Image sourced from here 
So from one Booker winner to another. And we could hardly get any more different. This book is a classic example of why I and the Booker Prize do not get along very well. This is why I avoid them now and almost miss amazing books like The Luminaries. Because a good 50% of them are just a bit crap.

The Famished Road is the story of Azaro who is a small child who was born into a family in Nigeria. But Azaro also is a spirit child, which is a spirit that is born as a child who doesn't want hang around in the mortal world and wants to go back to the spirit world asap. Makes a lot of sense really, much nicer way to think of the child mortality rates.

The book follows Azaro through an indeterminate amount of time. He doesn't seem to age at all really. It talks about him and his experiences. Real worldy - he's living in the world where Nigeria is about to be independant and the political upheaval is insane resulting riots and such. But the rest of the book is Azaro hallucinating weird spirit dreams. Some of them are interesting, some of which I wish I knew the myth for. But some of them, most of them, are tiring.

They talk about the poetic nature of his writing. And it is, especially the dreamy bits. But there is so much drunkenness, vomiting, eye fluids, chasing children around to beat them (properly beat them), it loses the poetry for me. Yes. It's 1960s Africa I realise, but still not so poetic.

I honestly had very little clue what was going on 90% of the time. There was little continuous story throughout the book, and I feel this review is similar. It was incredibly frustrating. 500pp of nothing. Prettily phrased nothing, but nothing. There was no climax. There was no resolution. Book just stopped. It would have been the same if it had stopped 300pp earlier. And there are another 2 books about Azaro. No thank you very much.

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