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Arrows of Rain (Heinemann African Writers Series) Paperback – June 21, 2000

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Product Details

  • Series: Heinemann African Writers Series
  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann; 1 edition (June 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435906577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435906573
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,225,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Arrows of Rain

"First rate fiction."
—John Edgar Wideman, author of Philadelphia Fire

"A blueprint for the second generation of African novelists."
—Ernest Emenyonu, author of Tales of Our Motherland

"An ambitious and brave first novel...[that] could jump start the moral political mission of serious African literature begun so well by Ousmane, Ngugi, and the immortal Achebe."
—Michael Ekwueme Thelwell, author of The Harder They Come

Praise for Foreign Gods, Inc.

"Razor-sharp....Mr. Ndibe invests his story with enough dark comedy to make Ngene an odoriferous presence in his own right, and certainly not the kind of polite exotic rarity that art collectors are used to....In Mr. Ndibe’s agile hands, he’s both a source of satire and an embodiment of pure terror." 
The New York Times Book Review

"Unforgettable ... Ndibe seems to have a boundless ear for the lyrical turns of phrase of the working people of rural Nigeria... The wooden deity "has character, an audacious personality," says one non-African who sees it. So does Ndibe's novel, a page-turning allegory about the globalized world." 
—Los Angeles Times

“We clearly have a fresh talent at work here. It is quite a while since I sensed creative promise on this level.”
—Wole Soyinka, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

"Dazzling... It's already obvious that 2014 is going to be a big year for African novels...but Okey Ndibe is bound to set himself apart from the pack. Who doesn't want to read a novel about a good god heist?" 
—The Guardian

"This original [novel] is packed with darkly humorous reflections on Africa’s obsession with the West, and the West’s obsession with all things exotic." 
Daily Mail (UK)

"Okey Ndibe’s Foreign Gods, Inc is one of the most impressive African novels that I have read in years.  Comic, sad—even tragic—Ndibe is a master craftsman, weaving his narrative with ethnic materials (and surprises) and a profundity that will startle you by the end of the story... Ikechukwu Uzondu’s journey into his past is as moving and frightful as Brutus Jones’ fate in Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece, The Emperor Jones.  Clearly, this is one writer to watch.  Moreover, his insights into both America and Nigeria will take your breath away." 

"Foreign Gods, Inc. reads like the narrative of a taxi-driving Faust in modern Nigeria and America. With Moliere-like humorous debunking of religious hypocrisy and rancid materialism, it teems with characters and situations that make you laugh in order not to cry." 
—Ngugi wa Thiong'o, author of Wizard of the Crow

"Foreign Gods, Inc. is a blistering exploration of the contemporary African immigrant experience in America. Ndibe tackles tough questions: from the shifting notions of home and identity to the nature of greed. In prose which is fresh and often funny, Ndibe draws the reader into the heartbreaking story of Ike Uzondu's attempt to survive in a world which seems determined to crush him." 
—Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters Street

“Ndibe takes his readers on a transfixing and revelatory journey from bitter bad faith to  hard won, deeply moving and adult redemption.” 
—Francisco Goldman, Say Her Name

"A challenging romp of gods and styles."
—John Edgar Wideman, author of Philadelphia Fire

"If you’ve ever sat in the back of a cab silently – or not so silently – wondering where your cab driver is from and what his life is like (and really hasn’t everyone?) then you will be captivated by Nigerian writer Okey Ndibe’s new novel."
—Metro New York

"The best-laid plans often go awry. But they can certainly make for an entertaining read." 
—The New York Post 

"Ndibe writes of cultural clash in a moving way that makes Ike’s march toward disaster inexorable and ineffably sad." 
Kirkus, STARRED Review

"Neither fable nor melodrama, nor what's crudely niched as "world literature," the novel traces the story of a painstakingly-crafted protagonist and his community caught up in the inescapable allure of success defined in Western terms."
Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

"Unsuppressible, Okey Ndibe’s Foreign Gods, Inc. is a splendid work of art that belongs in every reader’s collection. In a masterful manner, Ndibe manages to blend the traditional belief of his Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria with the challenges that face many young and ambitious African immigrants in the USA. The social benefit of the book is immense." 
—Sahara Reporters 

"Ndibe writes with a folksy inclusiveness. The village humor, the greetings and teasing, lend the Utonki sequences a lyrical magic ... Into this richly stocked brew of characters, Ndibe skillfully introduces suspense in the final stretch, guiding readers through the tension of getting through customs Nigerian-style ... As an author with a foot in Nigeria and the U.S., he expertly brings both worlds to life.
—Shelf Awareness

"A freshly and heartbreakingly recast tale of American immigration, with all its longings, disappointments, effacements and reclamations."
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Wonderfully colorful....There's more than a touch of Poe, or perhaps 'The Twilight Zone,' in the surreal conclusion of this story." 
—The Hartford Courant 

"This is a heist story like no other....Ndibe unfurls his rich narrative gradually, allowing room for plenty of character interaction while painting a revealing portrait of contemporary Nigeria. With piercing psychological insight and biting commentary on the challenges faced by immigrants, the novel is as full-blooded and fierce as the war deity who drives the story." 

"On the surface, Foreign Gods, Inc. is a heist book about a Nigerian cab driver in New York trying to steal an ancient statue from his village in Nigeria. But Okey Ndibe’s novel delivers far more than that description suggests, tackling everything from tradition to trying to make it in America, and the way Western countries view the rest of the world." 

"A close associate of the late, great Chinua Achebe, Okey Ndibe adds his voice to a new generation of writers....Foreign Gods, Inc. features New York-based Nigerian Ike...[whose] picaresque journey, gently but incisively told, shows us the vagaries of both American and Africa culture."
Library Journal

"Ndibe’s novel takes on serious themes of cultural exchange, but it does so in a decidedly comic fashion. All the characters Ike encounters, in New York and in Nigeria, inject their own brands of humor into the story." 
—Chapter16, Tennessee --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Okey Ndibe was born in Yola, Nigeria, in 1960. After a distinguished career as a magazine editor in Nigeria, he moved to the US in 1988 to be the founding editor of African Commentary, an award-winning and widely acclaimed magazine published by the Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe. A visiting writer-in-residence and assistant professor of English at Connecticut College, Ndibe has contributed poems to An Anthology of New West African Poets, edited by the Gambian poet, Tijan Sallah. He has also published essays in a number of North American, British and Nigerian magazines and writes a weekly column for the Guardian, Nigeria's most respected daily newspaper.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 6 customer reviews
Ndibe's style of writing flows like poetry.
The plot of Ndibe's novel sounds at once prophetic and realistic.
Obi Enweze
Just finished this book and it was amazing!!!
Christina Harris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dauda Handan on April 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Arrows of Rain published by Heinemann in the year 2000, is Okey Ndibe's first novel. Having read it, one is inclined to agree with Ekwueme Mike Thelwell that Arrows of Rain is 'an ambitious and brave first novel...(that) could jump start the moral political mission of serious African literature begun so well by Ousmane, Ngugi, and the immortal Achebe.' It deals with the degeneration of a contemporary African Nation, Madia, and the betrayal of its people by a corrupt political dictatorship.
Ndibe uses investigative journalistic and memoir techniques to closely examine and expose the disintegration of values and ethos in both public and private life; and how the lack of moral vision is leading the post-independent African society and its people at a hurtling pace towards destruction. The corruption, decadence and violence Ndibe vividly depicts in this novel are reminiscent of earlier writings by other African writers. A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah by Achebe, The Interpreters and The Man Died (prison memoirs) by Soyinka, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Armah, Petals of Blood by Ngugi and Dangerous Love by Ben Okri, are few such examples. To his credit, Ndibe is able to tackle this 'old' theme in African literature with refreshing insight and a unique approach, which lend his novel a contemporary application to the African experience.
Ndibe also demonstrates a skillful handling of not only his subject matter, but also the manner and technique in which it is conveyed and delivered. Listen to Ogugua's grandmother speaking to him shortly after the death of his father: 'Your father spoke to you before he went on his journey. You did not hear him. Do you know why? Because young men of today have lost the things of old.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
A friend who teaches a course in modern fiction told me about Okey Ndibe's novel. I went to a local bookstore and ordered it. Turned out to be the best book I've read in years!
This guy can tell a story, and tell it in a lyrical, compelling style. Often, when I read some highly touted novel, I pray for the book to come to an end. In the case of Arrows of Rain, I read it in one breathless go, and felt saddened when I turned to the last pages.
Ndibe's story is set in Madia, a fictional African nation, but the story resonates with the human experience. As somebody who's lived in two African nations, I found his evocation of the African atmosphere quite peerless in any novel I've read that's set in Africa. But the greater power of this novel lies in Mr. Ndibe's probing of the nature of power, stories and memory. The absolutely most stunning line in this beautiful novel is a statement by one of the female characters: "A story that must be told never forgives silence."
In a sense, the whole novel revolves around that idea: the consequences of silence when we should speak; the way in which the powerful dread stories, and the absolute need to reinforce memories.
Arrows of Rain is that rare novel--at once a love story, a psychological and political thriller, and a story engaged with ideas.
No discerning reader who encounters this book is going to emerge from reading it without having his sensibility transformed. The story stays with you long after you've closed the book. And it is a book that, as I found out, richly rewards re-reading.
I thought to attempt a summary of the book's plot, but no! It's too engaging a book to be reduced to a quick plot summary.
I've been looking for more stuff by this guy, but can't find any. I hope he continues to write--and write powerfully. There are more stories that must be told!
Bill Curtis
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By taiwo olaniyi on October 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The English language used in the prose is simple and straight forward. I am enjoying the novel. Okey Ndibe is a fine writer.
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