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Oil on Water: A Novel Paperback – May 16, 2011
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“Starred Review. A cinematic adventure and a remarkably tense race against the clock set in a haunting world of mangroves, floating villages, and jungle shrines—but it is also a brooding political tragedy in the Graham Greene tradition, one that illustrates the environmental and human costs of resource extraction in corrupt, postcolonial Africa….his mournful vision of the world never eclipses its fragile beauty, or its humanity.” (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Habila weaves his story in a non-chronological way: it flows back and forth in time, reflecting the reporters' meandering voyage through the vast intricate river delta. We first meet Rufus and Zaq on the ninth day of their quest. In flashbacks we learn about their back stories and, over time, that of other memorable characters. Past events are hinted at early on... Now, they are on their own, traveling by slow canoe, dependent for guidance and safety on a local fisherman and his young son to find a safe place to stay while charting their next steps. However, their time among the mangroves and later on a very special island of worshippers, is suddenly interrupted... and they have to leave their journalist role behind and use all their talents to stay alive.Read more ›
Read the world head-lines, watch the multi-media news reports, listen to NPR and BBC...and get the big picture of what is happening in the Niger Delta ~ big oil cashing in on Nigerian oil; a corrupt government allowing it and profiting by it; petrodollars, profits, payola all sparking rage, violence, rebellion and war; an environment raped and left toxic and dead; wildlife, birds and fish poisoned and eliminated; the livelihood of self-sustaining families and communities diminished and destroyed; the innocent men, women and children left physically, emotionally, psychologically devastated and all but annihilated or forced to flee from their homeland.
But read Oil on Water: A Novel and have all of those larger, globally discussed issues distilled down to their most essential, human essence...and then weep. Oil on Water: A Novel is personal. It is more than an expose of the oil politics of the Niger Delta...it is a compassionate, heart-rending, deeply affecting prose embracing the human spirit struggling to survive.Read more ›
One of the strengths of this enthralling story is the unfolding of the tale through Rufus' memory that is often patchy and hallucinatory matching it to the environment with its twists and turns in the river, and the hidden islands appearing and disappearing before your eyes. This provides a cinematic quality as the scenes are vividly painted for the reader, making the Niger Delta as much a character as Rufus and Zaq. The expert storytelling allows the reader to feel empathy for the characters that live in an environment where often who is the good guy and who is the bad guy is dependent on the breathtaking tricks of chance that can result in life or death in a second.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is very dark and was not my favorite. I probably wouldn't have picked it up if it wasn't for a class. The book however was in great pyshical condition.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I liked this book. I discussed it with some folks who argued that it's too simple and there isn't enough depth in the characters, but I thought the story perfectly does it's job. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Eugene Leventhal
Decent book. Good narration. Not a surprising plot though. But I like the way the author portrayed things. And the end is soothing.Published on January 20, 2014 by phoenix
The writing style is very readable. The story line keeps my attention. I do think it is a little biased against the oil companies viewed from today's perspective, but no doubt... Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by Skipper 1747
The troubles in the Nigerian Delta are an interesting topic but parts of this book were a little too violent for me.Published on July 8, 2013 by Marilyn H.
I greatly enjoyed Helon Habila's first novel, WAITING FOR AN ANGEL, which had such a perfect balance between character, political reality, and sheer good writing that I was really... Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by Roger Brunyate
Tho fiction I believe events are true to life. As in all Oil rich countries they take over the country and people sufferPublished on December 5, 2012 by jerry
A topic that I knew nothing about. The oil spill and devastation of a country by Shell oil among othersPublished on November 13, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Initially the first pages of Hebon Habila's masterpiece sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Rather than having the traditional quotations for dialogue, Oil on Water employed rarely... Read morePublished on April 16, 2012 by gaucho 07