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The Freedom Artist

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An impassioned plea for freedom and justice, set in a world uncomfortably like our own, by the Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri.

Forthcoming: 2/4/20

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What people are saying…

“Where fiction’s master of enchantments stares down a real horror, and without blinking or flinching, produces a work of beauty, grace, and uncommon power.”
Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

The Freedom Artist represents a heady jumble of influence and inspiration, a tapestry of biblical reference, mythology, folklore and fable. The lyrical simplicity of Okri’s prose, with its short sentences and chapters, only heightens the power of the novel’s political message.”
Financial Times

“A multilayered allegorical narrative that cuts to the heart of our current political and cultural malaise, while maintaining a mythical, mesmeric flavor that makes the reader feel these are stories they have always known . . . It’s savagely political, disturbing and fiercely optimistic, the deeply felt work of a writer who refuses to stop asking the hardest questions.”
Guardian (UK)

“Just as you’re thinking, ‘So this is what Dave Eggers’s The Circle would be like if it were written by a poet,’ Okri slips you a shot of ayahuasca and things get decidedly freaky and apocalyptic . . . A beautiful and timely appeal for the importance of books, subversive stories and love.”
The Times (UK)

“A meditation on the threat to freedom represented by the emergence of what is already called ‘a post-truth society’ . . . It’s a novel for our times.“
Scotsman

“The book posits the theory that we are all in an inescapable prison . . . The novel is written in a postmodern style reminiscent of Henry Miller or William Burroughs.”
i

“Okri creates a chilling atmosphere in The Freedom Artist . . . Okri’s rhythmic, folk tale–like prose is beguiling.”
Sunday Times (UK)

“Ben Okri’s most significant novel since his Man Booker Prize-winning masterpiece The Famished Road, The Freedom Artist weaves together ancient myth and modern politics for an impassioned story primed for the post-truth age. A story of love and loss, fiercely told and impossible to ignore.”
Waterstones, one of The Best Books to Look Out For in 2019

The Freedom Artist has a compelling power and energy that won’t let the reader go.”
The Herald (UK)

Additional Praise for Ben Okri:

Winner of the Booker Prize for The Famished Road

“Ben Okri is that rare thing, a literary and social visionary, a writer for whom all three—literature, culture, and vision—are profoundly interwoven.”
—Ali Smith

“Okri is incapable of writing a boring sentence. As one startling image follows the next, The Famished Road begins to read like an epic poem that happens to touch down just this side of prose . . . When I finished the book and went outside, it was as if all the trees of South London had angels sitting in them.”
—Linda Grant, Independent on Sunday


Description

In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner?

When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization that to find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her question.

Karnak’s search leads him into a terrifying world of lies, oppression, and fear at the heart of which lies the Prison. Then Karnak discovers that he is not the only one looking for the truth.

The Freedom Artist is an impassioned plea for justice and a penetrating examination of how freedom is threatened in a post-truth society. In Ben Okri’s most significant novel since the Booker Prize–winning The Famished Road, he delivers a powerful and haunting call to arms.

Watch an interview with Ben Okri at France 24:


Book Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Published: 2/4/20
  • IBSN: 9781617757921
  • e-IBSN: 9781617757938
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617757914

Author

BEN OKRI was born in Minna, Nigeria. His childhood was divided between Nigeria, where he saw firsthand 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. The Freedom Artist is his latest novel.

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