Oil on Water: A Novel

By Helon Habila

“The new iteration of twenty-first-century African writers have now come of age. surely Habila is among the best.”—Emmanuel Dongala

within the oil-rich and environmentally devastated Nigerian Delta, the spouse of a British oil government has been abducted. journalists—a younger upstart, Rufus, and a once-great, now upset veteran, Zaq—are despatched to discover her. In a narrative wealthy with surroundings and taut with suspense, Oil on Water explores the clash among idealism and cynical disillusionment in a trip packed with threat and unintentional consequences.

As Rufus and Zaq navigate polluted rivers flanked by way of exploded and dormant oil wells, looking for “the white woman,” they have to take care of the brutality of either executive squaddies and militants. Assailed by way of irresolvable types of the “truth” concerning the woman’s disappearance, depending on the kindness of strangers of unknowable loyalties, their journalistic objectivity will end up unsustainable, yet different values may possibly but salvage their human dignity.

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In fact there has been not anything like journalism college then, you simply finessed your means into issues. I wager you went to a journalism tuition, didn’t you? they're lifeless. You study not anything there. All you would like is to open your eyes, make the proper contacts, and be daring. good, not anything like journalism college for us. you start as a cub reporter, and in case you continue to exist, you turn into king of the jungle, or at the least anything excessive up at the nutrition chain. Beke drank from a water bottle, belched, and fished round together with his tongue for strings of meat among his tooth. He wiped the sweat from his bald head. – good, Zaq and that i have been assigned to the inside track table. In these days there has been no specialization, nobody cared when you desired to disguise the humanities, or enterprise, or information, the editor easily despatched you at any place he sought after. We have been assigned to information, yet Zaq sought after anything diversified. He used to be jam-packed with principles, stressed. At evening he by no means slept. He desired to do function tales approximately daily issues, traditional lives. yet this was once a unique age, overdue seventies, early eighties, issues have been assorted then. humans got papers for information merely, proof, or at the least that used to be how the editor observed it. yet Zaq wasn’t the type of individual to sit down round looking ahead to issues to alter. He give up, similar to that. Even i used to be taken unexpectedly. I bear in mind the precise day, in 1982, it used to be a Monday, often our busiest day, the newsroom used to be complete, such a lot people have been again from our beat and we have been dashing to get our reproduction prepared for the sub-editors. The editor was once there in a nook, berating one of many journalists, waving a section of paper approximately, after which I observed Zaq wake up from his table and stroll correct as much as him and speak to him through his identify. Who dared name the editor via his identify? It used to be unprecedented, and correct in entrance of all of the junior newshounds and interns. He went correct as much as him and stated, Tunde, I give up! And he walked out. these days you didn’t want a resignation letter, journalists simply wandered out and in of newsrooms. – Ah, besides. He left. He additionally moved out of our flat whereas i used to be at paintings, with out forwarding tackle. similar to that. I requested round our neighbors, yet nobody knew the place he had received to. I didn’t see him back until a yr later, and also you comprehend the place he used to be all that whereas? At Bar seashore. in the event you knew Bar seashore within the eighties, that you didn’t, ha ha. you actually didn’t. Ever heard of the Bar seashore exhibit? That was once within the seventies. The Bar seashore express. Armed robbers tied to sand-filled tin drums and shot by means of infantrymen correct in entrance of cheering crowds. That was once the Bar seashore exhibit less than the army executive. within the eighties, it was once beer shacks and prostitutes. We had democracy, the darkish days of the past due sixties and seventies have been over, the rustic was once eager to placed the civil warfare in the back of it. The sufferers have been simply blissful the nightmare used to be over, and the victors – good, what victors? Makeshift bar rooms and eating places covered up alongside the seashore, and younger women from everywhere in the state went to Lagos searching for chance, such a lot of them from first rate backgrounds, yet Lagos doesn’t care how decent you have been on your village.

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