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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ben Okri's spirit-child: 'abiku' migration and postmodernity
Author:Hawley, John C.ISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Nigeria
About person:Ben Okri (1959-)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3820085
Abstract:This essay deals with the work of the Nigerian writer Ben Okri. The author grounds his discussion in the complicated and ambiguous 'abiku' child (spirit-child), a figure that fitfully straddles external and internal worlds, political and individual concerns, varied ontological systems, lived experience and imagined communities. The significance of an 'abiku' narrator is that it moves African literature closer to the postmodern movement. With the aim of contributing to the debate over possible points of intersection between postmodernism and postcolonialism, the author argues that the label 'postcolonial postmodernity' could be applied to writers who do two things: first, they 'resist the European master narrative of history because they can essentially oppose its incursions with alternative ontological systems... (especially) within the societies whose own opposing or differing epistemes are still recuperable'; and, secondly, they are markedly experimental in their narration, carrying into their fiction many postmodern stylistic characteristics. He thinks that this is what Okri is doing with the concept of 'abiku'. Bibliogr.