Nine-year-old Benjamin is the youngest of four brothers. They live in the rocky hills of Akure. When their civil servant father is transferred to another town, the boys begin misbehaving: smashing windows, severing chicken heads and playing truant to follow billionaire politician M.K.O Abiola’s campaign trail. For six weeks they take to fishing in the forbidden Omi-Ala river. There they run into Abulu, a filthy yet visionary madman whose pronouncement that the eldest boy, Ikenna, will be killed places a dark and fearful cloud over the brothers. If the prophecy is true, which of them will be the murderer? Abulu’s words have devastating yet redemptive consequences for the family, as guilt and sadness binds the brothers, while their parents sink into despair.
With this remarkable and almost biblical parable set in the Abacha years of 1990s Nigeria, Chigozie Obioma announces his presence as a powerful new voice in Nigerian fiction.
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