The Road to the Country: A Novel by Chigozie Obioma

A sweeping, heart-racing, mystical novel about a university student in Lagos trying to save his brother, and himself, amid the chaos of Nigeria’s civil war—a story of love, friendship, and personal triumph by the two-time Booker Prize finalist and “the heir to Chinua Achebe” (New York Times)

“A wondrous novel.”
—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Chain-Gang All Stars, finalist for the National Book Award

“Chigozie Obioma is that rare thing: an original. His world is a mix of the real and the folkloric, and his writing sounds like no one else’s.”
—The Wall Street Journal

The first images of the vision are grainy—like something seen through wet glass. But slowly it clears, and there appears the figure of a man.

Set in Nigeria in the late 1960s, The Road to the Country is the epic story of a shy, bookish student haunted by long-held guilt who must go to war to free himself. When his younger brother disappears as the country explodes in civil war, Kunle must set out on an impossible rescue mission. Kunle’s search for his brother becomes a journey of atonement that will see him conscripted into the breakaway Biafran army and forced to fight a war he hardly understands, all while navigating the prophecies of a local Seer, he who marks Kunle as an abami eda—one who will die and return to life.

The story of a young man seeking redemption in a country on fire, Chigozie Obioma’s novel is an odyssey of brotherhood, love, and unimaginable courage set during one of the most devastating conflicts in the history of Africa. Intertwining myth and realism into a thrilling, inspired, and emotionally powerful novel, The Road to the Country is the masterpiece of Chigozie Obioma, a writer Salman Rushdie calls “a major voice” in literature.

Editorial Reviews


“With heartbreaking realism, Obioma captures the dizzying atmosphere of despair, determination, and chaos surrounding the Biafran soldiers. This live-wire war story is not to be missed.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“With confident empathy, Obioma remarkably imbues breathtaking beauty into the (quotidian) horrors of war. Beyond geographical and historical specificities here, the world’s harrowing, ongoing conflagrations underscore the timeless urgency of Obioma’s latest triumph.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Obioma has captured the essential elements of the war novel—the near-death experience, the tragic losses, the flickering moments of generosity and grace—but he inhabits them with a rare command, empathy, and intensity of feeling. . . . A top-tier war novel, inventive and cleareyed about the consequences of violence.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Mr. Obioma describes the battlefields and the swampy terrain of the Niger Delta with disturbing viscerality. . . . The novel captures Nigeria’s fault lines in both language (with a mix of English, Yoruba and Igbo) and form. It flits between the real and the supernatural.”The Economist

“Obioma’s The Road to the Country is a powerful testimony to the importance of stories: the stories that came before us, the stories we create for our own selves, and the stories left behind.”—Chicago Review of Books

“A spectacular blend of realism and mysticism, The Road to the Country is Chigozie Obioma at his finest. He is a novelist in a league of his own.”—Imbolo Mbue, New York Times bestselling author of Behold the Dreamers

“A writer who wields both the grand and the intimate with incredible precision and power. Obioma reminds us that it is all real, even the surreal, and in his hands anything is possible. A wonderous novel.”—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Chain-Gang All Stars, finalist for the National Book Award

“This powerfully evocative and intimate book is unarguably Obioma’s finest. Through subtle, piercing, and gripping language, he renders those seemingly simple but unforgettable moments when our lives intertwine with history, anchoring you to the pages until the end . . . This is among the best books I’ve read in a while and is certainly destined to be a classic.”—Ishmael Beah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Long Way Gone

“Chigozie Obioma has proven his mastery of craft in this sweeping, brilliant, and stunning novel. The Road to the Country is an eloquent, beautifully rendered study on time and place and the history that changed a nation. . . . A truly unforgettable read.”—Nicole Dennis-Benn, award-winning author of Here Comes the Sun and Patsy
“Incredibly moving and hopeful. Both an adventure story and a portrait of brotherhood, love and companionship. In each beautifully crafted sentence, Obioma shows us how the best of humanity is often created under extreme pressure.”—Nadifa Mohamed, author The Fortune Men,finalist for the Booker Prize

“Absorbing . . . A tale Nigerians need to read.”The Nation (Nigeria)

About the Author

Chigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria. His two previous novels, The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities, were both finalist for the Booker Prize. His novels have won the inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award for Fiction, the NAACP Image Award, and the Los Angeles Times Award for First Fiction and have been nominated for many others. Together, they have been translated into thirty languages. He was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and divides his time between the United States and Nigeria.


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