AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES (2019)
Finalist, Booker prize 2019
Finalist, Digital Book World Awards 2019
Finalist, Kulturhuset Internationella Pris for Best Translated Fiction
Previews and advance reviews:
An Atlantic Editor's Pick and a VanityFair Critic Pick.
A Buzzfeed's most Anticipated Books of 2019
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
A New York Times Editor's Choice
A Publisher's Weekly book of the Week
An Apple IBook's Best book of the month
A Coastal Living's Best Books of Winter 2019
A Nylon's 6 Best Books of Winter 2019
A New York Post's Best Books of the Week
A TIME Best new Books for January 2019
A Bustle's 18 Books of January
An Evening Standards' Most Anticipated Books of 2019
A Houston Chronicle Anticipated Books of Winter 2019
A New York Magazine's 8 New Books of January 2019
An LA Times 11 Author Books of 2019
One of The Writer's 5 Hottest Novels of the Winter
One of Washington Post's Books to Read in January 2019
A Vanity Fair Best Fiction to read in Winter 2019
An Entertainment Weekly's Most Anticipated Books of 2019
A Huffpost India's 35 Most Anticipated Books of 2019
One of Bookish's Winter 2019 Must-Read Fiction
One of Bookbub's 27 Best Bookclub Books of Winter 2018
One of Bookriot's 10 Best Books Coming in Winter 2018/2019
A Southern Living's Best Books coming in Winter
One of Barbara Hoffert of Libraryjournal picks for January 2019!
Read an excerpt/first chapter of An Orchestra of Minorities on Australia's The Monthly
Listen to or read excerpts from the An Orchestra of Minorities on The pool
Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice. Bonded by this strange night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a small college in Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, he discovers that all is not what it seems. Furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further and further away from his dream, from Ndali and the place he called home.
Spanning continents, traversing the earth and cosmic spaces, and told by a narrator who has lived for hundreds of years, the novel is a contemporary twist of Homer's Odyssey. Written in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about destiny and determination..
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"Unforgettable second novel . . . Obioma's novel is electrifying, a meticulously crafted character drama told with emotional intensity. His invention, combining Igbo folklore and Greek tragedy in the context of modern Nigeria, makes for a rich, enchanting experience."
―Publishers Weekly, *Starred Review
"Obioma overwhelms readers with a visceral sense of Chinonso's humanity, his love, his rage, and his despair as he struggles between fate and self-determination."
―Library Journal, *Starred Review
"Obioma alchemizes his contemporary love story into a mythic quest enhanced by Igbo cosmology. . . . Magnificently multilayered, Obioma's sophomore title proves to be an Odyssean achievement."
-Booklist, *Starred Review
"A deeply original book that will have readers laughing at, angry with, and feeling compassion for a determined hero who endeavors to create his own destiny." -Kirkus, *Starred Review
"Masterly...Obioma elevates his main character to the highest level of world literature where Shakespeare's, Ibsen's, and Dotoevsky's are waiting for him." Vartland, Norway.
“This is a book that wrenches the heart with its story of love, migration and inner turmoil, told with remarkable language from start to finish. Narrated by a cast of characters from Igbo spiritual tradition, the story of Chinonso, the chicken farmer begins and ends with tragedy. But his quest for a life with Ndali, the woman he loves, drives him to seek status and wealth as an African migrant in Europe, to transcend Nigeria’s formidable class boundaries. The spirits look down on these human dramas of small town Nigeria and reveal the rich complexity of another realm along the way. Obioma's is a tale of Odyssian proportions that makes the heart soar, and a crucial journey into a heartache that is both mythical and real. A stunning book.” Booker Prize 2019 Jury citation.
"A multicultural fable that heralds a new master of magical realism...It's a special writer who take the familiar tropes found within An Orchestra of Minorities and infuse them with new life, transforming them into something exciting and unexpected. Happily, Obioma is exactly such an author. A tragic masterpiece." ―Bookpage, Starred Review
“A tale of mythic nature and epic scale at times recalling Homer’s Odyssey—a sweeping story about destiny and the power of choice.” –Vanity Fair
“It is destined to become a classic.” –Hello Giggles
"Obioma’s latest work has the makings of a classic; in the sense that Italo Calvino describes, Obioma has written ‘a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading.’ That said, An Orchestra of Minorities does not only tell a tragic love story. It draws readers and critics to the understanding of a man through the metaphysics of existence and through race, socio-political background and economic power as the other factors that decide the fate of men. Steeped in a rich language that does not pander to the West and a narrative style that elevates the beauty of Igbo cosmology, Obioma’s conceptualization of man and fate is rooted in a tradition he has purposefully popularized in this novel...Obioma’s experimentation in his latest effort is, indeed, worthy of attention." ―Lanre Apata, TheRepublic
"Throughout this novel, Obioma evokes ancient African proverbs to elaborate upon Chinonso’s increasingly dire predicaments. Woven together as philosophical musings, they form the fabric of the narrative as do similar observations in a George Eliot story. In “An Orchestra of Minorities,’’ Obioma deploys whatever literary means necessary to retrieve the precious African knowledge that has been lost. It is more than a superb and tragic novel; it’s a historical treasure." ―Boston Globe
"A mystical epic...confirms his place among a raft of literary stars." ―TIME.
"“An Orchestra of Minorities” finds this remarkable talent working with a broader and grander canvas and proving up to the task...His is a bracing and searing work that compresses an ordinary life into an epic journey." ―Andrew Darnsby, Houston Chronicle.
"Narrated by the chi (guardian spirit) of a young man living in Nigeria, the novel is a sprawling look at the country's past and present, using mythology to situate the current era as part of an ever-expanding story...Ultimately, An Orchestra of Minorities is a powerful look at the opportunities and ruin that lay before a man in pursuit of his dreams. ―Noah Cruishank, Shelf Awareness.
"[An] impressive, epic second novel . . . Timely, portentous and powerful, [An Orchestra of Minorities] confirms Chigozie Obioma's remarkable talent"
―Lucy Scholes INews.
"Obioma's frenetically assured second novel is a spectacular artistic leap forwards . . . [it is] a linguistically flamboyant, fast-moving, fatalistic saga of one man's personal disaster . . . Few contemporary novels achieve the seductive panache of Obioma's heightened language, with its mixture of English, Igbo and colourful African-English phrases, and the startling clarity of the dialogue. The story is extreme; yet its theme is a bid for mercy for that most fragile of creatures - a human"
―Eileen Battersby, Guardian
“The chances that Chigozie Obioma’s second novel would match, let alone surpass, “The Fishermen,” were slim. Happily, his follow-up, AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES, is a triumph. . . . In an era of copycats, “An Orchestra of Minorities” is an unusual and brilliantly original book" ―The Economist.
"Chigozie Obioma’s spectacular second novel, An Orchestra of Minorities, begins with the quotation of an Igbo proverb: “If the prey do not produce their version of the tale, the predators will always be the heroes in the stories of the hunt...An Orchestra of Minorities is a nailbiting, edge-of-the-seat-gripping, eyebrows-to-the-ceiling-and-jaw-to-the-floor joy ride of a tale – a quest, a love story and a thriller...That Obioma, who writes like an old master, is only 33, should fill us with joy and anticipation well beyond the final page” ―Linda Jaivin, The Saturday Paper.
"A great African novel...Obioma's work rivals the epic proportions of Greek mythology, where a spiritual and earthly landscape lays bare the petulance, joy, and shame of humanity." ―Sydney Morning Herald.
“Gorgeously written, with a twist of magical realism and a heavy dose of sad reality, this is your big novel of the winter.” –Washington Post.
"A passionate argument for the enduring vitality of indigenous culture."-- New Yorker
“Transcendent . . . Chigozie Obioma’s second novel is a rare treasure: a book that deepens the mystery of the human experience...This acknowledgment of life’s mystery — and a willingness to embrace it — makes “An Orchestra of Minorities” a transcendent read” –David Takami, Seattle Times.
"Igbo and Greek mythology are braided into this heartbreaking and utterly unique novel"
―Boris Kacka, Vulture.
“I predict it will be one of the most talked about books of next year. It certainly deserves to be. It surprised me most because it’s a challenging read — it is set in Nigeria and the author uses a combination of English, Nigerian Pidgin and untranslated Igbo — and yet it is still a very compelling and emotionally-stimulating story. I couldn’t put it down.” ―Emily May, Bustle
"Rich and vivid . . . Obioma's absorbing tragicomedy painfully probes the perils of victimhood
―Anthony Cummins, The Observer.
"This book is something very unique. I understand that you have to have comparisons, especially for new readers, but there is something about the narrative voice that is so neat and original that I have trouble comparing him to anyone. I rather hope that people start to compare others with him eventually" Ellen Sofie Lauritzen, Booktips Norway.
"Strikingly, Obioma applies the epic darkness of Greek tragedy to a modern Nigerian morality...there is no denying its majesty. ―Ian Thomas, Evening Standard.
"Obioma writes with an exigent precision that makes An Orchestra of Minorities feel at once timely and speculative. The novel aches with Chinonso. His triumphs are rare and hard-won. Obioma compels the reader to root for him, to see the poor chicken farmer’s story as an epic." ―Hannah Giorgis, Atlantic
"An Orchestra of Minorities is a stunning novel which succeeds on so many levels. This time around Obioma deserves every accolade that comes his way" ―The UAE National.
"A tale of mythic nature and epic scale at times recalling Homer's Odyssey-a sweeping story about destiny and the power of choice." ―Vanity Fair
"The story unspools in great detail, the chi not wishing to miss anything that might soften Chukwu’s judgment, but what emerges is an intricately wrought and powerful study of a man caught in the jaws of fate.This is a powerful, multifarious novel that underlines Obioma’s status as one of the most exciting voices in modern African literature" ―Carl Wickinson, Financial Times.
"A Commanding performance" ―UK Daily Mail.
"An ambitious and immersive tale about love and sacrifice, told by an ancient spirit. A bold new novel from an exciting young writer."―Brit Bennett, New York Times bestselling author of The Mothers
"Chigozie Obioma is a gifted and original storyteller. His masterful new novel An Orchestra of Minorities is remarkable for its exploration of universal concepts to do with destiny, free will and luck."―Jennifer Clement, author of Gun Love and President of PEN International.
"Chigozie Obioma is an audacious and ambitious writer, and quite adept at binding the reader to the irresistible spells he casts. An Orchestra of Minorities is a magisterial accomplishment by any measure, and particularly impressive for the way Obioma orchestrates a tableau in which humans and spirits must interact in a complex, emotionally rich-veined story. Few writers can match Obioma's astonishing range, his deft facility for weaving a mesmeric and triumphant fictive canvas in which-reminiscent of the ancient masters-a cohort of gods presides over and negotiates the fates of humans."―Okey Ndibe, author of Foreign Gods, Inc.
"Chigozie Obioma pens a deeply empathetic, complex, and gut-wrenchingly human narrative that captures the heart and soul. An Orchestra of Minorities stays with you. With remarkable style and compelling language, he explores what it means to experience blinding love and devastating loss. A truly gifted writer, Obioma has proven yet again, that he's a literary treasure."―Nicole Dennis-Benn, award-winning author of Here Comes the Sun