Star of the New Curfew

Star of the New Curfew

3,500.00

Okri’s world resembles Eliot’s in that it is less a physical than a spiritual state, less a landscape than a soulscape, bleaker in fact than the one found in The Waste Land where there is at least the promise of rain, of hope. In Stars of the New Curfew, horror leads not to hope but to anguish as Okri’s simple-sounding, artfully paratactical sentences first turn into fable and fairy tale, then transmogrify into nightmare. His stories of life without appeal take place against a backdrop of war, rape, and “stupefying heat.” It is not only a world in which, as in Soyinka and Achebe, the modern and the primitive exist side by side; it is a world of fantastic transformations, of skyscrapers sprouting in rural villages, of unending unnavigable marketplaces, of money made more desirable because stored in refrigerators, of rivers literally jammed with swollen, stinking corpses. Okri’s imagination, at once fecund and suppurating, competes with and eventually overcomes a world in which the only constraints appear to be the tyrannical abuses and betrayals of the powerful and the abject terror and desperation of the powerless.

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Description

Okri’s world resembles Eliot’s in that it is less a physical than a spiritual state, less a landscape than a soulscape, bleaker in fact than the one found in The Waste Land where there is at least the promise of rain, of hope. In Stars of the New Curfew, horror leads not to hope but to anguish as Okri’s simple-sounding, artfully paratactical sentences first turn into fable and fairy tale, then transmogrify into nightmare. His stories of life without appeal take place against a backdrop of war, rape, and “stupefying heat.” It is not only a world in which, as in Soyinka and Achebe, the modern and the primitive exist side by side; it is a world of fantastic transformations, of skyscrapers sprouting in rural villages, of unending unnavigable marketplaces, of money made more desirable because stored in refrigerators, of rivers literally jammed with swollen, stinking corpses. Okri’s imagination, at once fecund and suppurating, competes with and eventually overcomes a world in which the only constraints appear to be the tyrannical abuses and betrayals of the powerful and the abject terror and desperation of the powerless.

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Ben Okri

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