Oil on Water
From the desks of Nigeria’s newsrooms, two journalists are recruited to find the kidnapped wife of a British oil engineer. Zaq, an infamous media hack, knows what’s in store, but Rufus, a keen young journalist eager to get himself noticed, has no idea what he’s let himself in for. Journeying into the oil-rich regions of the Niger Delta, where militants rule and the currency dealt in is the lives of hostages, Rufus soon finds himself acting as intermediary between editor, husband, captive and soldier.
As they follow the trail of the missing woman, love for the ‘story’ becomes about much more than just uncovering her whereabouts, and instead becomes a mission to make sense of their own muddled lives.
In a cruel twist of fate, Rufus finds himself taking on Zaq’s role much more literally than he ever anticipated, and as the body count rises, and the environment burns, he learns that truth can often be a bitter pill to swallow.
Compassionate, emotive, masterly . . . draws on the tradition of the classic detective novel but also operates on a deeper, metaphorical and philosophical level * Independent * A lean, evocative novel - part thriller, part meditation on the deadly cost of the region's under-reported oil politics . . . a classic coming-of-age narrative * Daily Mail * Powerful, accomplished . . . Oil on Water lays bare the real-life tragedy of the Niger delta, in which petrodollars warp human relationships as surely as leaking crude poisons birds and fish * Observer * Habila's writing has that combination of elegance and rattling-good-yarn that we associate with Conrad and Graham Greene . . . Terrific * The Times * Habila is a master at evoking the plight of characters who ask for little, and end up with even less . . . this is a book you can't put down * Boston Globe * 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 * This is a powerful novel that is both creepy and engaging * Bookseller *
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