Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ben Okri: Songs of Enchantment

Ben Okri's book calling out to me in a secondhand shop fulfilled all the promises it held. Years ago I had read The Famished Road, the book to which Songs of enchantment is a sequel. Azarro still lives in the mythical villages among malevolent forces and powers, corrupting the villagers. The child is still the narrator. Yet the book is not just a next installment, it does take you in a whirlwind of events and once again I lost myself in the dreams and charms, the magic of wandering lights, the sorcery, the transferences all told in an truly enchanting way. The story is driven by the supernatural events yet it does deal also with very earthy and human issues: poverty and power, politics with the party of the rich and the soul eating of the poor turning their followers into ghostlike creatures. I couldn't lay down the book. The words kept haunting me. Okri's language will do that to you with its firework of words that will cast a spell over you, will mesmerize the reader. Do read both books and don't forget to pack them for your desert island stay... The ghosts and spirits evoked may keep you company.
Ben Okri is an eminent and politically astute and aware author. Read every word and then read again between the lines.
Ben Okri, born in 1959, is a Nigerian poet and novelist one of the real strong post-modern African voices.
With the last sentences he comes full circle from the opening paragraph: : Maybe one day we will se the montains ahead of us. Maybe one day we will see the seven mountains of our mysterous destiny. Maybe one day we will see that beyond our chaos there could always be a new sunlight, and serenity.

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