An Orchestra of Minorities Summary and Reviews

An Orchestra of Minorities

by Chigozie Obioma

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma X
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2019
    464 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A heart-breaking story about a Nigerian poultry farmer who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves.

Set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit, An Orchestra of Minorities tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped her in her tracks.

Bonded by this night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family and struggles to imagine a future near a chicken coop. When her family objects to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But when he arrives he discovers there is no place at the school for him, and that he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who has made the arrangements.. Penniless, homeless, and furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further away from his dream, from Ndali and the farm 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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. 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. By having Chinonso's chi serve as storyteller, Obioma alchemizes his contemporary love story into a mythic quest enhanced by Igbo cosmology, centuries of history revealed through glimpses of the chi's past hosts, elements of autobiography conjuring Obioma's own Cyprian education and his meeting a fellow Nigerian whose dire experiences initially sparked the novel. Magnificently multilayered, Obioma's sophomore title proves to be an Odyssean achievement." - Booklist

"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." - 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

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Author Information

Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma was born in 1986 in Akure, Nigeria. His short stories have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and New Madrid. His first novel, The Fishermen, won the 2016 NAACP Image Award and was a Man Booker Prize finalist. He has lived in Nigeria, Cyprus and Turkey, and currently resides in the United States, where he teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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