The Famished Road by Ben Okri

I don’t normally do posts on books that I’ve started but not finished.  It feels unfair to do so, as it’s entirely possible that the problem lies with me – there might be a lot going on at the time, I’m not in the mood for that particular kind of novel etc. – and there are times when I’ve gone back to a book at later stage and have really enjoyed it.

It also doesn’t happen very often – I do try to persevere with books that I’ve started, however little I’m enjoying it.

However, with The Famished Road, I feel that I should do a post, given that I’ve read it, or at least tried to read it, as part of my Booker Prize Challenge, and whilst I do sometimes go back to a book I’ve not finished, it doesn’t always happen, and I’m not sure that I will in this instance as I didn’t particularly enjoy the bit that I read.

The Famished Road is about the spirit child Azaro.  Spirit children can be born into our world, although they usually don’t stay for very long – they find the pull of their own world, particularly when contrasted with the suffering and pain that they experience in our own world.  Azaro, however, chooses to stay, thereby ostracising his own kind, and yet experiencing life as we do, with all of its joy and pain.

I really struggled to get into The Famished Road.  It’s not badly written, but the story didn’t grab me at all.  I’m usually ok with magic realism, but this was beyond me.  There seemed to be very little plot (although it’s a hefty novel, so it maybe that I just didn’t give it enough time), and even the little bit I read seemed somewhat repetitive.

Reading other reviews, it seems that people either love or hate this novel – there are very few middling reviews for it.  I may go back to The Famished Road at some point, but the thought of doing so right now doesn’t appeal at all.

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