Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

September 2, 2009

Ben Okri – Starbook

Filed under: review — Tags: , — Sam @ 11:37 pm

This book is delightful, dense, and rather odd. It’s a kind of Nigerian fairy tale (though “fairy tale” itself is a very Anglocentric term – “folk story” might be better. Though I ain’t never seen a horse write SF), and plays around with the age-old prince-meets-princess story in a way that also brings in slavery, the nature of creativity, the inner life of a people, the now of history, and the Passion.

The text plays around in really interesting ways with causality, narrative sequence, and the reality of one group to another. One of the first people we meet in the book is a king and his son; shortly after that, a tribe of artists whose art arises as a spontaneous reaction to reality, who disclaim all credit or remembrance, who make art the way they breathe or converse. But neither the king nor the artists are “real” to each other, or to the kingdom; and the kingdom is barely “real” to itself.

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