An Orchestra Of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma

Estimated read time 3 min read

…a real masterpiece

‘The worst thing that adversity can do to someone is to make them become who they are not”

“A man may own something for as long as it remains with him. Once he leaves it, he may lose it. He did not know at the time that a man may give up all he has for the sake of the woman he loves, and when he returns, she may no longer desire him. I had seen it many times.’

Based on Nigerian Igbo beliefs, each being has a “chi,” a guardian spirit. A chi has gone through many cycles of reincarnation and is familiar with earthy challenges. The story is narrated by our main character Chinonso’s chi, a guardian spirit that guides him and us through the story.

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The chi’s warm, kind, and concerning presence gives the story a heartwarming feel through its heartbreaking parts.

It is the life story of Chinonso Solomon Olisa, a young poultry farmer who falls in love with a beautiful young woman far above him in class. To marry her, he sells everything he owns so that he might get a college education, but things go horribly wrong for him, from one tragic event to another until the novel’s inexorably catastrophic conclusion. 

Wow! How do I even begin to review this book? It is exceptional. It is beautiful. And it is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. This is one of the best books I’ve read.

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Each chapter begins with the chi’s supplication to the god, pleading his host’s case. The chi shares the wisdom he has acquired from inhabiting the bodies of previous hosts going back many generations. Although he tries to intervene in the form of Chinonso’s conscience and occasionally leaves his host’s body for the ethereal world of spirits to seek help for his host’s predicament, his ability to effect change as a guardian spirit is limited.

Chinonso is a character to root for; his story is told with an emotional intensity that will have you choked with feelings. I loved everything about this book. The character development was profound, and the book was very well-written and engaging. Chigozie crafted a novel that was truly an experience. 

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This book made me think about the concept of ‘chi.’ and I wondered if these same ethereal processes applied to us, implicit in times when our conscience would occasionally stop us from doing certain things.  

Absolutely recommend!!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Chidinma Madeleine Okerenwogba

Hi, I’m Chidinma. I am obsessed with traveling the world through books. I started a bookstagram account where I review and recommend books to individuals. Apart from reviewing books online , I spend most of time being a lawyer and reading up a storm.

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