|Year of Publication:||2019|
An Orchestra of Minorities is Chigozie Obioma’s sophomore offering and like his debut, this was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize. This book was a very different read for me as it was woven with to be a lot of magical realism, philosophy and religion. I accompanied it with an audiobook which made it easier to navigate the story and get a sense of the atmosphere.
Some of the other themes Chigozie touches on in this story include love, revenge (how far we can go), betrayal, class and spirituality.
The story is told through the POV of the main character, Chinonso’s Chi (spirit guide), whose main role, it seems, is to Stewart the man while he still lives and advocate for him I’m the spiritual realm.
Chinonso, our main character who also happens to be an underdog, is tested in a number of ways, however, we gain insight into his thoughts, reasons and actions via what his Chi takes note of. In loosing everything in the most devastating way, we get to see who a man is at his core, as he undergoes a journey of self-actualisation and forgiveness.
Chigozie takes us on an intriguing journey of stripping a man of everything he has and then insisting that he still live. There is a lot of pain in the story, but also a lot of pensive reflection. One cannot help but ask themselves who we’d become had this series of unfortunate events happened to us.
There is also an underlying theme that juxtaposes African spirituality against Modernity, and this is intertwined with a bold declaration around the right to choose who we love.
There are a number of well thought out nuggets one can steal and use as a compass to navigate life in this story, one of which is the fact that life is a giving and a taking. One also learns that tragedy or misfortune befalls all mankind, perhaps not always to the same degree, but suffering is not discriminatory.