For me main characters were Jesa and Kin. Kin is a young boy at the beginning of the story who “pushes” the beached whale back to the sea. He is clever, resourceful and intelligent. He also is an orphan and gets accused of being a witch. Jesa is a young widow who becomes a surrogate mother for Kin and who helps him build the basics for his future life. There was also a dictator and his family, namely the judge, Ochiades, who can’t remember anything, then the dictator Matanza who has a frightening brother dubbed The Butcher, who is in charge of a local police. There is also the helper nun as well as The Professor who encouraged his revolutionaries to read and get educated. ( Quite different than in real life when revolutionaries only know propaganda and only fighting techniques.) There are also a lot more fascinating characters such as Fundogu the shaman and the turtle and camel, but I will let the readers discover them for themselves.
There is an absurdity of a multitude of people being controlled by one man
The story is in third person narrative mainly from Kins and Jesas points of view and it isn’t anything like i have read before. The first chapter of a beached whale already told me that this will be an unusual tale of the power of nature, and subsequent chapters have cemented my belief of the reverence of nature. The language and descriptions of nature are very powerful and will require a rereading at some point. While the characters are well written and memorable, I will mention a sort of disconnect I experienced because the author literally urged the readers to focus on a bigger picture rather than small mundane details of life. I also appreciated the Professors message of the importance of reading and knowing history, how you have to know what you are fighting for. At the same time the author used and perhaps poked fun of fantasy tropes, which is an interesting contrast: question who has the power, but almost literally no one questions the seers and sages that populate the story. ( at least not that I recall?)
Comedy and revolution in one book, has anyone come across that type of read before? I haven’t. Revolutions and dictatorships are serious business, and there is no room for poking fun at dictators and laughing. Yet in Nazare, the author does just and the result is a beautiful and memorable tale of a boy who is destined to become a hero. Both funny and serious, as well as a delightful blend of fantasy tropes and a bit of science fiction, Nazare is a story that will continue to stay in my mind mostly for absurdity. In Nazare young boys can push whales off the beach; people can become flies: a turtle can be a judge, and dictators can have six or seven fingers on each hand. The language as well as sentences are truly masterpieces and works of art, and it’s a story that will imprint itself both in mind and soul.
This was given for review
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
About the Author: J.J. Amaworo is a German-born Anglo-Nigerian-American writer. He is a novelist, short story writer, and non-fiction writer. Based in the U.S., he has lived in 11 countries and visited over 70. He is the prizewinning author of over 20 books about language and language learning, and his short fiction, essays, and poetry have been published by Penguin, The New York Journal of Books, Johns Hopkins University Press, A Public Space, and numerous literary magazines in England the the U.S. His 2016 novel, Damnificados, won three international awards and has since been translated into French and German. His work has appeared in African American Journal, Justice Journal, The Penguin Book of the New Black Writing, and many other publications. He is currently the writer-in-residence at Western New Mexico University, Silver City.