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The Famished Road
The Famished Road is a novel written by Nigerian author Ben Okri. Published in 1991, the story of the novel follows Azaro, an abiku or spirit child, living in an unnamed, most likely Nigerian, city. The novel employs a unique narrative style incorporating the spirit world with the "real" world in what some have classified as magical realism. Others have labeled it African Traditional Religion realism. Still others choose to simply call the novel fantasy literature. The book exploits the belief in the coexistence of the spiritual and material worlds that is a defining aspect of traditional African life.
The Famished Road was awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction for 1991.
Azaro is an abiku, or spirit-child, from the ghetto of an unknown city in Africa. He is constantly harassed by his sibling spirits from another world who want him to leave this mortal life and return to the world of spirits, sending many emissaries to bring him back. Azaro has stubbornly refused to leave this life owing to his love for his mother and father. He is the witness of many happenings in the mortal realm. His father works as a labourer while his mother sells items as a hawker. Madame Koto, the owner of a local bar, asks Azaro to visit her establishment, convinced that he will bring good luck and customers to her bar. Meanwhile, his father prepares to be a boxer after convincing himself and his family that he has a talent to be a pugilist. Two opposing political parties try to bribe or coerce the residents to vote for them.
The novel was the inspiration behind the lyrics to Radiohead's single "Street Spirit (Fade Out)".