Book Notes: An Orchestra of Minorities

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Read Dec 23, 2020 - Jan 8, 2021

An Orchestra of Minorities is a novel about a man that makes a great sacrifice to marry a woman he loves. The story is told by the man’s chi, which is something not quite like his spirit, in Igbo cosmology.

The characters are well-observed, but the pacing felt a little uneven to me, which made me hesitate between three and four stars. Ultimately, some of the poetic bits really touched me, pulling it up to a 4-star for me, pacing notwithstanding.

Book Highlights

For in the earth, a spirit without a host is nothing. One must inhabit a physical body to have any effect on the things of the world.

The White Man reckoned long ago that time is divine —- an entity to whose will man must submit. Following a prescribed tick, one will arrive at a particular place, certain that an event will begin at that set time.

I have dwelt amongst mankind long enough to realize that they do not store information about those who have hurt them as they do others. This kind is kept in tightly sealed jars whose lids must be opened to remember them.

Oseburuwa, if a man dwells in the debris field of revenge for too long, he might step on something —- the blade of some weapon, anything —- that could injure him.

Fear is a subaltern god, the silent controller of the universe of mankind. It might be the most powerful of all human emotions.

Then he lay on his bed, his eyes closed, his hands on his chest, as he tried to think of nothing. But this, Egbunu, is almost impossible —- for the mind of a man is a field in a wild forest on which something, no matter how small, must graze.

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