An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Publisher: Little, Brown
First published January 8th 2019
Genres: Literary Fiction, Cultural – Nigeria
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
An Orchestra of Minorities is about the life of a troubled young poultry farmer who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves. Set between Nigeria and Cyprus, according to Little, Brown it is “a modern epic of Igbo civilisation”, dealing with myth, spirituality, life, death, obsession and ownership. It can also be read as a parable about a civilisation lurching towards modernity, sometimes at the cost of abandoning the wisdom of elders.
I’m sobbing. This was SO emotional and hard and perfect. I’m broken.
An Orchestra of Minorities is an incredibly different story with Nigerian culture. It talks about chi’s – in Igbo cosmology a Chi “is often translated as god, guardian angel, personal spirit, soul, spirit-double etc” -, love, and the paths of life. It’s a hard read but it’s so incredibly written! It’s beautiful, deep and sad to the point of putting me sobbing… I am for sure an easy crier, but this book? I believe it would touch anyone…
It starts with Chinonso or Nonso’s chi pleading with an Igbo god for his host and from there we get to see from the Chi’s point of view what happened that lead to this…
This book is about a young poultry farmer who gives everything he has to be able to be with the love of his life. His life is not easy and we see him stumble a lot through the book until he stops being who he was in the beginning.
This book shows how people change depending on how life treats you. It’s heart-breaking to see that happen… It was so realistic, deep, sad and powerful! Our life revolves around the choices we make, and even if they are good, that doesn’t mean the outcome will be good too. Our MC gave literally everything he had for love and was destroyed by it… He fell in love with a woman above his social status, and from there on, everything he knew and had was not enough. He was not enough to marry her. Their love was not enough for her family to let her marry him. And even tho he tried and tried… Even tho he was cheated, hurt, humiliated and broken apart… It would never be enough.
One of the things that made this story even more powerful was how the book is narrated. As I said, we are seeing everything from Chinonso’s chi point of view. It was a bit difficult to grasp it at first because of that, but it also made it so unique and powerful! You see, a Chi has lived many lives, and because of that he has seen a lot, and is more knowledgeable than anyone can be. It’s not that he can predict the future, far from that. But he can feel his host’s emotions and his thoughts and compare it with what he knows from other lives. It was such an interesting way of seeing everything! You could feel the Chi’s love for his host and how much he tried to protect him. But even a Chi has its limits…
This book is a book of tragedies. It’s life at its worst and it made me lose and restore my faith in humanity too many times to count. It’s a dark story about love and life and everything in between and filled with Ingbo mythology and culture (we actually get to see some of the language, which was pretty interesting). It’s a story that deeply touched me and I just have no words for how this book made me feel. It was the most emotional of rides. I’ve never read a book like this, but for sure I would love to read more.
This is not the typical book I normally review and so I’m not sure if you guys will be as interested in this as in a ya fantasy book, but I would recommend this SO much!
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!