Oil on Water
By Helon Habila
(Dreamscape Media, Compact Disc, 9781611201222)
Publication Date: May 2011
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In the oil-rich and environmentally devestated Nigerian Delta, a British oil executive's wife has been kidnapped. Two journalists - a young upstart, Rufus, and a once-great, now disillusioned veteran, Zaq - are sent to find her. In a story rich with atmosphere and taut with suspense, Oil on Water explores the conflict between idealism and cynical disillusionment in a journey full of danger and unintended consequences. As they navigate polluted rivers flanked by exploded and dormant oil wells, they must contentd with the brutality of both government soldiers and militants. Assailed by irresolvable versions of the 'truth' about the woman's disappearance, dependant on the kindness of strangers of unknowable loyalties, their journalistic objectivity will prove unsustainable, but other values might yet salvage their human dignity.
Helon Habila is the internationally renowned author of Waiting for an Angel, which won both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Caine Prize for African Writing, and Measuring Time and Oil on Water. He was born in Nigeria, and studied at the University of Jos and the University of East Anglia. He now teaches creative writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, where he lives with his wife and children.
Starred Review. "A cinematic adventure and a remarkably tense race against the clock…rendered with insight and sensitivity, but also an unsparing sense of irony; indeed, it’s a credit to Habila’s storytelling that his mournful vision of the world never eclipses its fragile beauty, or its humanity." - Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. "In a beautiful, almost cinematic style, Habila moves back and forth in time to tell a story swathed in the cynicism of modern global development and the mysteries of human longing." - Booklist
"Richard Allen’s deep, rich voice makes the characters come to life...his pacing is perfect, and his diction always clear. This is a compelling story well read and worth hearing." - AudioFile
"The narration from multiple Audie Award-nominated Richard Allen has an almost lyrical quality, immersing readers in the tale." - Library Journal
"[A] thrilling, fast paced read and also an elegiac meditation on the destructive force of greed and the fragility of hope...Habila is a skilful narrator and a master of structure." - The Telegraph
"Habila's primary characters breathe and his plot mesmerizes...what leaves the most profound impression is his stunning evocation of this violated landscape...a powerful work, one that reaffirms that art done well is always big enough to contain politics, too." - Orion Magazine
"[A] powerful, accomplished third novel." - The Observer
"[A] lean, evocative novel… a classic coming-of-age narrative." - The Daily Mail
"…an excellent piece of literature…definitely worth buying." - The Socialist
"Habila has a filmic ability to etch scenes on the imagination." - The Independent
"...topical and urgent...powerful..." - The Guardian
"The new generation of twenty-first-century African writers have now come of age. Without a doubt Habila is one of the best." - Emmanuela Dongla