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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Famished Road"
Ben Okri has succeeded with The Famished Road, where most others fail, in giving humankind one of the absolute pleasures in life - great storytelling. It is at once a tragic fairytale mixed with wondrous humour and a mad twist of irony lurking within the pages. This fabulous book is one for those who enjoy the wonders of a beautifully crafted story. I consider The...
Published on Nov. 7 2000 by camille2000

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 500 hundred pages full of sadness
You shall believe those reviewers who tell you this book is worth 5 stars, but only if patience is a trait of your personality.
It is undeniable that the author have an excellent command of English and a great sensibility to make the reader understand how extreme poverty and the lack of self-esteem will make you numb to the most aberrant events of life. So much, that...
Published on Nov. 20 2001 by Amazon Customer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I found myself challenged, Feb. 2 2002
By 
Fiona (Aotearoa/ New Zealand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
"The Famished Road" challenged my concepts of narrative and genre and in the perplexity (out there at the edge of chaos where all art and learning takes place) I found myself enchanted and bewitched. I've since seen the label "magical realism" attached to Okri's work and suspect that comes from people who live in a linear paradigm, a secular one.
The road is hot and dry. The smells of cooking waft from the doorways. A possessed father, a depressed mother, a bar full of dreams and a political tide... This book is special. Prepare for the magic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 500 hundred pages full of sadness, Nov. 20 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (Bogota, Colombia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
You shall believe those reviewers who tell you this book is worth 5 stars, but only if patience is a trait of your personality.
It is undeniable that the author have an excellent command of English and a great sensibility to make the reader understand how extreme poverty and the lack of self-esteem will make you numb to the most aberrant events of life. So much, that life becomes uni dimensional. And that is precisely the reason why I rated it with only three stars.
The events, the characters, the drama, the mental scenery, all about this book is circular, without colors, plain. If you read 100 pages or 400 pages it makes no difference, the action just stand still so much that this book can also be summarized as "Azaro goes into madam Koto's bar - Azaro gets scared - Azaro leaves madam Koto's bar".
After this situation had happen 15 times, in 300 hundred pages, there comes a point you wonder why the author does not use his imagination and writing skills to lead the novel somewhere aside from the events in madam Koto's bar, in which invariably, the patrons become weird spirits or someone gets into a fight forcing Azaro to leave the bar. In other words this book is very boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Famished Road", Nov. 7 2000
By 
"camille2000" (Queensland, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
Ben Okri has succeeded with The Famished Road, where most others fail, in giving humankind one of the absolute pleasures in life - great storytelling. It is at once a tragic fairytale mixed with wondrous humour and a mad twist of irony lurking within the pages. This fabulous book is one for those who enjoy the wonders of a beautifully crafted story. I consider The Famished Road the greatest story ever told (no disrespect to the Bible intended).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a lovely novel, Feb. 18 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
This is one of the most wonderful books I have ever read. It's lush, full of life, vivid, surreal, and down right eerie. If I can only write half as well as Okri, I'll be very pleased with myself. This book is long, yes. And yes, I am well versed in Nigerian history and folklore, though I am Igbo, not Yoruba. So maybe I was at an advantage and I understood things on more levels than the average reader. But it held me in a way that no other book ever has. I've read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie AND Stephen King. I love all three of them. But I love Okri the most. This book was delicious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fulfills any hunger, Dec 26 2004
By 
"graceful_ignorance" (Peterborough, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
Absolutely astonishing. Ben Okri is a wonderful writer. I have read many of his works and know that the Famished Road is a wonderful introduction. Reality and myth reside together in this novel, and are at times inseperable. Okri takes his readers on an intense sensory journey that does not allow them to put the book down. Every passage must be read carefully to avoid missing something glorious. You will not regret buying this book!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Journey, Sept. 19 2001
By 
spideranansie (Singapore - Manchester) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
Ben Okri's creation has a very interesting premise, that of life as seen through the eyes of a spirit child, Azaro, who chooses to stay on in the world rather than return to the spirit realm, to bring happiness to the face of his mother. Simple everyday life of Nigerian peasants in a small town are described and in the passing weeks and months, relationships between characters are revealed and contribute to our understanding of a unique culture. Politics, the division between poor and rich, jealousies and envy are all part of the negative aspects of the real world which cause such heartache and suffering to people. On the other hand, the strength and resolution of the resilient characters such as the photographer and Azaro's parents, highlight the positive aspects of human nature and what makes the real world such a wonderful place and so attractive to the spirits. Azaro's world is one where the spirit realm merges with the real world and Okri's rendering of his story is magical and fascinating. However, repetitions to the story, though reminiscent of Homer's "The Odyssey", takes away the focus of the story and makes it a little draggy. Imaginative and ambitious, "The Famished Road" remains a good read, however, for readers who constantly look for something out of the ordinary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful spiritual writing by a gifted author, June 5 2001
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
The Famished Road goes beyond the restrictions of plot, character, and structure, to reveal a style of writing so beautiful that even when the story drifts, one still retains attention, to avoid missing out on the superbly woven prose. For me, Okri's greatest achievement was to show that writing need not follow hand-me-down formats of yesteryear to be sophisticated and fabulous.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Reading Journey, March 7 2001
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This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
I have enjoyed few books as much as I have The Famished Rd. Although at times the descriptions of the child's spiritual jouneys can get a little tedious, ultimately this book is a beautiful journey, a must read for anybody who appreciates aesthetic uses of English. Already in the opening chapters the lyrical quality enchants the reader. It's a fat book, but persevere, it provides great solace for those who are doubting whether life is worth living if one is not materially well off, as it deals with poverty and brutality in a way which shows that one can remain unaffected as the boy in the story, who frequently enters a completely different dimension of consciousness, as we too feel we are being initiated into African folklore and spiritual wisdom.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathless imagery, stunning language, enchanting story, Dec 4 2000
By 
Fearless Artist (Pasadena, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
Ben Okri's use of language in "The Famished Road" is breathtaking. His vivid and enchanting journey takes you to a world that is half magic/half reality. (How he blends the two seamlessly!)
The beauty of Okri's world is almost stunning in scope. Hope, Spirits, Desolation, Magic, Innocence and Joy are all themes explored in this lyric tale of a unusual child.
The universal message and the beautiful imagery will take you in and make you look for the magic in your world.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Patience and effort may be worth it, Sept. 28 2000
This review is from: The Famished Road (Paperback)
Ben Okri's "The Famished Road" is a long novel that has way more character and image than plot. It takes patience and effort to read this book, but for some readers it will be well worth it.
It is hard not to give an equivocal review of "The Famished Road". I would have liked it more if I had read it some years ago when I was more into writers like Thomas Pynchon, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Salman Rushdie. Comparing Okri to those writers should give you an idea of what this book is like: long, complicated, often surreal (the term "magical realism" is used in discussions of this book), and sometimes confusing. Okri weaves many elements of traditional Nigerian folklore into his novel, but the form and structure are very much in the tradition of the modern English novel. I can't get help but feel that this book seems to be written for an audience of professors, grad-students, and people who are very serious about the novel as an art form. Those aren't necessarily bad things, indeed for many readers those are the best qualities a book can have. I wonder if many Nigerians have read this book, and if not, if a book popular in Nigeria might be more interesting and informative than "The Famished Road". But that's the thing: being interested in the novel as an art form is not the same as wanting to read a book to learn something about Nigeria.
Another Nigerian writer whose works are often based on African folklore is Amos Tutuola.
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The Famished Road
The Famished Road by Ben Okri (Paperback - July 27 1992)
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