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A Lovestruck Poultry Farmer on a Journey Far From Home | The New York Times

A Lovestruck Poultry Farmer on a Journey Far From Home | The New York Times

An Orchestra of Minorities, Chigozie Obioma, African American Literature, Black Literature, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, WRIIT,


By Chigozie Obioma
446 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $28.

“An Orchestra of Minorities,” a new novel by the Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma, follows his excellent debut, “The Fishermen.” That novel — a Cain and Abel-like story about four brothers who learn of a prophecy foretelling that one will murder the oldest — was a tour de force, an unexpected take on a familiar story.

“An Orchestra of Minorities” is more expansive in form, broader in reach. Based partly on a true story, partly on Homer’s “Odyssey,” it follows the obsessive descent of a young poultry farmer called Chinonso, whose life is interrupted when he stops a young woman from jumping to her death. A romance is born.

The woman, Ndali, is very different from Chinonso: urban, sophisticated, educated, with plans to obtain a pharmacy degree in England. But this is modern Nigeria, and Ndali’s family is one of the richest and most prominent in the country; Chinonso suffers a barrage of indignities in courting her. At one point, Ndali’s brother forces him to act as valet at a party to which he was invited as a guest. The shame is bracing.

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