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Cheryl's books

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The Collected Stories
John McGahern
George Eliot
Omensetter's Luck
William H. Gass
Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
A Naked Singularity (Paper)
Sergio De La Pava
The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews
Geoff Dyer
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
Claire Tomalin
Maps and Legends
Michael Chabon
Oil on Water: A Novel - Helon Habila The opening chapter describes a harrowing river journey that immediately brings to mind Heart of Darkness. It is not the same story, but the physical surroundings, the fog, the fearful emotional atmosphere...I'm thinking, "Mistah Kurtz, he dead." It was a strong powerful chapter.
The story is of an ambitious Nigerian reporter who is trying to find the kidnapped wife of an expatriate European oil executive. Nothing is as it seems, and the plot moves slowly, somewhat weighed down by the earnestness of the narrator. There are a number of potentially fascinating characters, but they lack definition; they all tend to sound the same. Much of the prose is irrelevant and plodding: "She was pretty and clever and the sex was good, but I didn't see myself spending the rest of my life with her."
Greed is destroying the society and environment of Nigeria -- the greed of the oil industry, the greed of the world that demands the oil, and the greed of the Nigerians. But the ones with the most money wield the power, so the Nigerians are suffering for that. The story was a way to highlight the inequities and cruelties. I liked that this is a book written by a Nigerian, with Nigerian protagonists.