21 November 2006

I was not afraid of time

It seems that I got lost in the Nigerian wilderness. Bowled over by Okri's writing, I nearly forgot to leave here. So, I shall tie up my loose ends. Having finished The Famished Road, I am left with many thoughts. I will share with you this one;

Animals. Throughout The Famished Road there are many encounters
with animals. Rats are frequently used in the descriptions of poverty that Azaro and his family endure. His mother is often seen ‘chasing the rats’ from under beds and tables.
The magic realism element of the novel is also present in the description of some of the animals. Azaro sees the world in a dream like way and sometimes it is not clear to him (or the reader) whether he is imagining the strange hybrids of animals that he talks about.

“I saw a tiger with silver wings and the teeth of a bull. I saw dogs with tails of snakes”

The animals that feature the most in the novel are Reptiles, in particular Lizards. At some points they seem to represent luck and fortune. A character kills a lizard and it is seen as very bad luck. At other times they almost seem to be there to guide Azaro through his life, or at least through the novel. Lizards often communicate with the narrator. There is a moment when Azaro’s father asks a lizard to leave and the reptile ‘nods three times’ before leaving.

Reptiles are often seen as intriguing and wise creatures in mythology, and they have definitely worked in creating a mysterious aura around this novel. It seems that the ones with scales know more than we think.

the navigator

rocking on the ocean, sucking up the sea

Geography has never been my strong point. That’s why its far safer that this stays a virtual journey. My next destination is apparently Samoa. If I had to take a guess I’d head for Africa. I’d be wrong. I’d be lost.

The map shows me the way to go. Vaguely. I’m heading for some tiny dots, near other slightly larger dots. Hopefully things will magnify when I get there. Where I am promised storms and coconuts, volcanoes and bananas. Friendly people with a fierce sense of tradition.

And when my guide teases me with these words -

“ ‘I’ does not exist, I am not. My self belongs not to me because ‘I’ is always ‘we’. ”

I cannot resist. I depart across the waters - my philosopher self already halfway there.

the circumnavigator