"The Fishermen" by Chigozie Obioma (2015)
"In the fullness of time, the madman became a menace, a terror in the town. The song he sang after every prophecy became known by almost every inhabitant of the town, and they dreaded it."
Chigozie Obioma is originally from Akure, Nigeria, where this novel is set. He teaches Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and The Fishermen is his first novel.
In The Fishermen four brothers cross paths with the town prophet. After the prophet tells them that betrayal waits in their future, the four brothers argue over what this prophecy means, and how they should best deal with it.
In terms of writing style The Fishermen resembles other books I've read by Nigerian authors, namely Americanah and Things Fall Apart. The author of The Fishermen even mentions Things Fall Apart in the book, so I can only assume it was an influence.
The Fisherman is full of many African tropes such as comparing people to animals, tribal politics and governments led by charismatic strongmen, but where Americanah and Things Fall Apart offer these things and more, The Fishermen only offers more of the same, all without any real sense of place to tie the people and things that populate this book together.
What's more, The Fishermen doesn't really hang together as a novel. It's too episodic, and feels more like a collection of short stories that might have been better if told in isolation. It doesn't seem to have a beginning, middle and end. It's rather a beginning, and nothing more.
Strangely enough, this novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. To me this would seem to indicate that such awards are attempting to over-represent African/third world/black authors, because this novel, taken on its own merits, certainly doesn't deserve that kind of praise.
"China Rich Girlfriend" by Kevin Kwan (2015)
"Rich People Problems" by Kevin Kwan (2017)
"Crazy Rich Asians" by Kevin Kwan (2013)
"The Windup Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)