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Book Title: Infinite Riches|
The author of the book: Ben Okri
ISBN 13: 9780753806807
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 412 KB
Edition: Phoenix House
Date of issue: July 15th 1999
Read full description of the books:review for third volume of 'the famished road' series: this last of three novels by ben okri, the famished road series, is a great summation of themes introduced, elaborated, extended, from the other two. i read some reviewers who claim he merely includes more of the same, more fantastical, definitely african, images, thickening the stew but not creating new savour, but i suggest this is how to continue exploring this confusing world of a spirit child who would rather be free of human being, be free, be untouched by sorrows of living. there are too many images for me to describe them all, to suggest symbols, allegories, politics, ideology...
this is like the previous two volumes, built of short, poetic, vibrant scenes, and this is possibly one reason I liked it- spectacle- but there is an offered freedom when we do not identify with, but experience through, the central character, and this is one way into a the worlds described, the shifting realities, from the perspective of a child. who accepts everything, who does not separate dream from waking, or handicapped with modern sensibilities but instead in the openness of a child...
finally this is 'metaphysical' poetry- except the world of thought is not European, not English, not some centuries past but now, in Nigeria. i have often claimed i did not like poetry, going back to class at u, but to look at some works read this is obviously mistaken. in looking back, did really enjoy the beats, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, but there are many names do not recall- except I did not like Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, big historical names, known masterworks, though on the other, did enjoy Canterbury tales... need to read this again as it has been so long, this dislike. but i like this poetry, much as i like poetry-inflecgted prose such as amos tutuola, much as translation fascinates me with sense of literal versus thematically correct prose, such as the japanese work read. i am not bothered it does not resolve in a structure some of us- as 'western readers'- can understand, appreciate, delineate, for to me this is part of the magical aspect of azaro's world. the syncretic nigerian culture can best be felt, be seen, be heard, through the unending, furious, torrent of actions and characters, from madame koto the bar owner who becomes something more, to the dead carpenter no one will bury, to the blind old man, the beggar girl, to all the inhabitants of the bush and all the other worlds interwoven with this mundane reality...
this is told all in images, in obviously expressed emotional territory- madness, sadness, fury, fighting, running away- that it may seem to the characters have no 'internal' life, do not progress or change through these encounters, there is no logic, but to me this is simply because everything is open, vibrant, even should you need to enter the right spirit world, perform the right rituals, and be open to all the realities beyond what seems so real on a mundane level. and then there is some wisdom that comes apparent only in these magical states of reception, such as the politicians of the party of the rich, the politicians of the party of the poor, both magical, terrifying, promising only to eventually betray, such as the mythic fights his father gets in, establishes his fame, then how this is no help in realms of politics...
i never enjoyed art history as a class at u. now, i do not know how to stop seeing this world through that educated lens- now, as with my visual artist friends, i find art history everywhere, and i love it. perhaps this is how i feel about poetry, just because i did not like whatever it was we studied in such and such class. for this book is poetic narrative, this book is built of prose poetry, poetry given narrative descriptions, so easy to read, so defined by empty space as much as dialog, that i enjoyed this greatly...
there is of course some political content, chapter seven of book three, where we have the english governor general deliberately rewriting, deliberately destroying histories, to give you the idea nigeria's world did not begin until they arrived. well yes if you insist, there were people here before us europeans- but they were ahistorical, they were africans... but this and the other recounts of the g-g are really only giving this awareness to those of us not aware by now that this book, this series, is dedicated to righting wrongs of history by writing a nigerian world that precedes, and i suggest this is not 'merely' political, therefore should be in political histories and not novels, i believe this is metaphysical and essential and something we come to understand through all the varied, fantastic, comic and fearful, tale of this 'famished road'...
Read information about the authorPoet and novelist Ben Okri was born in 1959 in Minna, northern Nigeria, to an Igbo mother and Urhobo father. He grew up in London before returning to Nigeria with his family in 1968. Much of his early fiction explores the political violence that he witnessed at first hand during the civil war in Nigeria. He left the country when a grant from the Nigerian government enabled him to read Comparative Literature at Essex University in England.
He was poetry editor for West Africa magazine between 1983 and 1986 and broadcast regularly for the BBC World Service between 1983 and 1985. He was appointed Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College Cambridge in 1991, a post he held until 1993. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1987, and was awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Westminster (1997) and Essex (2002).
His first two novels, Flowers and Shadows (1980) and The Landscapes Within (1981), are both set in Nigeria and feature as central characters two young men struggling to make sense of the disintegration and chaos happening in both their family and country. The two collections of stories that followed, Incidents at the Shrine (1986) and Stars of the New Curfew (1988), are set in Lagos and London.
In 1991 Okri was awarded the Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel The Famished Road (1991). Set in a Nigerian village, this is the first in a trilogy of novels which tell the story of Azaro, a spirit child. Azaro's narrative is continued in Songs of Enchantment (1993) and Infinite Riches (1998). Other recent fiction includes Astonishing the Gods (1995) and Dangerous Love (1996), which was awarded the Premio Palmi (Italy) in 2000. His latest novels are In Arcadia (2002) and Starbook (2007).
A collection of poems, An African Elegy, was published in 1992, and an epic poem, Mental Flight, in 1999. A collection of essays, A Way of Being Free, was published in 1997. Ben Okri is also the author of a play, In Exilus.
In his latest book, Tales of Freedom (2009), Okri brings together poetry and story.
Ben Okri is a Vice-President of the English Centre of International PEN, a member of the board of the Royal National Theatre, and was awarded an OBE in 2001. He lives in London.
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