The Famished Road

The Famished Road



The Pequod Review:

Ben Okri's novel The Famished Road is a supernatural and even magical story of a spirit child in an unnamed African country (one that appears to be most similar to Okri’s native Nigeria) whose episodic adventures move back and forth between the realms of the living and the dead. Here is the classic open paragraph:

In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry. In that land of beginnings spirits mingled with the unborn. We could assume numerous forms. Many of us were birds. We knew no boundaries. There was much feasting, playing and sorrowing. We feasted much because of the beautiful terrors of eternity. We played much because we were free. And we borrowed much because there were always those amongst us who had just returned from the world of the living. They had returned inconsolable for all the love they had left behind, all the suffering they hadn’t redeemed, all that they hadn’t understood, and for all that they had barely begun to learn before they were drawn back to the land of origins.

Don't be put off by its earnest and politically predictable tone; The Famished Road is an engrossing read.