“The Fishermen” comes to Iranian bookstores

August 17, 2019

TEHRAN – Prominent young Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma’s debut novel “The Fishermen” has recently been published in Persian by Chatrang Publications in Tehran. 

Translated by Misaq Khalaj, the 2015 book follows the lives and childhood of four brothers Ikenna, Boja, Obembe and Benjamin in a small Nigerian town in the late 20th century.

When their strict and overbearing father leaves town temporarily for a business opportunity, the brothers make use of the opportunity to live dangerously, skipping school and engaging in fun recreational activities instead, including fishing in the river near their home, despite being forbidden from doing so by their parents.

On one of their fishing trips, they encounter a local madman, Abulu, who follows them shouting the name of Ikenna, the oldest brother. The other children flee, but the four brothers stop to listen, as Abulu shouts a series of prophecies that Ikenna will become blind, mute and crippled. He finishes by prophesying that Ikenna is destined to be killed by a fisherman. 

Ikenna thinks this means one of his brothers will kill him, and he gradually turns against them. The prophecy undoes the family and the expectations the brothers’ parents have for them.

The book received several awards, including NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Debut Author, Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and Nebraska Book Award for Fiction. 

It was also shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize and received positive reviews from critics.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian version of Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma’s novel “The Fishermen”.

ABU/MMS/YAW

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