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Head of Zeus
Prayer for the Living
03 Oct 2019 * TRADE PAPERBACK * £12.99 * 9781789544602

Topical and timely, Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri's new collection of short stories blur parallel realities and walk the line between darkness and magic.

Fiction / FA (Fiction)
Extent: 240 pages  Format: 210 x 130 mm
EXPORT ONLY Exclusive: CA AU NZ IN ZA SG   Not for sale: GB US
Also by Ben Okri
Prayer for the Livingby Ben Okri

Topical and timely, Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri's new collection of short stories blur parallel realities and walk the line between darkness and magic.

Is what you see all there is? Look again.

Playful, frightening, even shocking – the stories in this collection blur the lines between illusion and reality. This is a writer at the height of his power, making the reader think, making them laugh, and sometimes making them want to look away while holding their gaze.

Stories here are set in London, in Byzantium, in the ghetto, in the Andes, in a printer's shop in Spain. The characters include a murderer, a writer, a detective, a man in a cave, a man in a mirror, two little boys, a prison door, and the author himself.

There are twenty-three stories in all. Each one will make you wonder if what you see in the world is all there is...

Ben Okri was born in Minna, Nigeria. His childhood was divided between Nigeria, where he saw first hand the consequences of war, and London. He has won many prizes over the years for his fiction, and is also an acclaimed essayist, playwright, and poet. In 2019 Astonishing the Gods was named as one of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'.

These 23 stories are varied in tone – some dark, some light – but overwhelmingly timely, urgent and political in their message.

Links with the philosophical concerns of THE FREEDOM ARTIST.

Some stories previously published in print but 2/3 of the collection have never been published before.


'Okri is always good company and these 20-odd tales showcase his lucid prose and freewheeling imagination' Mail on Sunday

'Okri is a master of the genre: these fables are concise and otherworldly. Resplendent and lingering, they capture an ethereal plane between wakefulness and sleep with a skewed, dreamlike brutality and beauty ... Okri's magnificent twilight zone provides a surreal and unique insight' The Lady

'Okri is a master storyteller' Herald

'The reader is in no doubt they are in the hands of a master storyteller throughout' Belfast Telegraph

'Timeous, shocking and perceptive' TimesLIVE (South Africa)

'An air of magic hovers over many of the tales ... What really makes a tale, Okri shows, is how it is told' New Statesman

'How much you'll enjoy these Zeitgeisty global gobbets depends whether you accept platitudes as undervalued truths and whether you rate moral relativism a blessing or a blight. Either way, they're food for thought' Country Life

'A series of fables that make the reader question the nature of reality and whether what one sees in the world can really be all there is ... The often magical elements in the stories that play with the imagination' Irish Examiner

'That's the adventure and thrill of Okri's collection: you never know which shock­ing end or mystical place he will take you to next. Within each story, Okri takes us on a journey across worlds that are only accessible in dreams and moments before death ... Prayer for the Living creates beauty in the empty spaces, and the confusing lines between reality and myth. His stories rarely assert moral truths, but when they do, they're often spelled out in riddles. Regardless of where Ben Okri takes his readers, he does so with a steady, confident hand, even in ambiguity' Locus Magazine

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