The Road to the Country by Chigozie Obioma - review by Joshua Klarica

Joshua Klarica

Surviving Biafra

The Road to the Country

By

Hutchinson Heinemann 384pp £16.99
 

In many ways, The Road to the Country is the novel Chigozie Obioma has been steadily heading towards. Utilising fable and prophecy – prominent across his earlier novels The Fishermen (2015) and An Orchestra of Minorities (2019) – Obioma depicts one of the darkest moments in Nigerian history, the Biafran War. The novel, narrated by a figure identified as ‘the Seer’, charts the unwitting entry of university student and Yoruba man Kunle Aromire into the depths of the war as he searches for his brother, Tunde, stuck in Biafra. Kunle is oblivious to the decades-long tumult that has inspired the violence and is racked with guilt over an incident when they were boys that left Tunde in a wheelchair. He enters the war zone utterly unprepared for what lies ahead.

When captured by the Biafran army, Kunle claims his mother’s Igbo heritage in a desperate bid to escape with his life: he swears loyalty to Biafra and must take up arms. In this role, he traverses the road to the country, the bridge between the living and the dead. The

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