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Arrows of Rain

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  52 reviews
An exposition of the raw side of human emotions as explored through one man's tormented life's experiences. It seeks to expose the fallacies of the human condition while remaining real in its depiction of universal problems inflicted on postcolonial Africa.
Paperback, 247 pages
Published June 21st 2000 by Heinemann Educational Books (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  294 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Nathaniel Tower
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A deeply haunting and powerful book that explores the corruption and terror still prevalent in the world today. Arrows of Rain follows a similar path of Kafka's The Trial and Camus' The Stranger, but it certainly does not sit in the shadows of those books. Rich in culture and politics, Arrows of Rain hits hard where other books have fallen short. It's a riveting, disturbing, and flawless read that leaves the reader in awe of the beauty of language and the sadness of life. Ndibe's debut novel is ...more
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first read this novel about six years ago and at the end I remember thinking ‘Wow’. Re-reading it now and being prepared for the twist, I was still like ‘Wow’. Such is the power of a good novel. Arrows of Rain is beautifully written and examines the pain and sorrow of not only individuals facing the truth of who they really are but also of a nation on the verge of collapse. Although a familiar tale of post-colonial African corruption in all its ugly forms, there is something quite unique about ...more
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Wow, I'm not even sure what to say. This is the first book I've read by a Nigerian author. I know, I should read Things Fall Apart, and I will.

Okey Ndibe's writing style is different from what I normally read. He is very direct and to the point in his statements but the story itself unravels in layers. Arrows of Rain gives a look into the culture of Madians in Postcolonial Africa. I know nothing about the history or culture of postcolonial Africa and I found this depiction to be fascinating and
Michael Nakamura
Another strong showing from Ndibe.

Somehow less gut-wrenching than Foreign Gods Inc., but dealing with similar themes of fear and betrayal. The same healthy cynicism towards institutions is here, countered by dignified treatment of individuals, even the villains. I read this very quickly and enjoyed every minute of it.
Marcy prager
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Arrows of Rain was one of the saddest books I have ever read. Okey Ndibe brings the reader right into the story when a homeless man, Bukuru, who lives on B. Beach, hears the screams of a prostitute who has been savagely raped by many men and left for dead. After the army men get back into their trucks and drive away, Bukuru then runs over to help the woman. When she sees him, she runs into the ocean in fear and drowns.

The police come and Bukuru is taken away as a prisoner, for he is accused of r
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a good book! The only reason it didn't get a 5 star is because I didn't like the ending. I was hooked from chapter one and couldn't wait for justice to be served. The characters were well developed and interesting. Their stories pulled my heartstrings and made me long for justice even more. But imagine how disappointed I was when I got to the end. One thing I loved most about the book was the use of idioms. I love African authors for this! Will I recommend this book? Definitely! But don ...more
Victoria  Naa Takia Nunoo
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ndibe’s Arrows of Rain is definitely one which doesn’t beg to be read. Starting off along the roads of witticism, the story delivers its heart, quietly absorbing a reader’s mind—my mind into following, curiously, how a man’s attempt to defend himself from the law leads him to face and then unravel the atrocities committed within the boundaries of the same law he had so duly run from, and subsequently, into a discovery of his own interest.

All I can say after reading this book is that Okey Ndibe i
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
There are a number of stories like this one in African literature. The theme of African dictators is one I'm quite tired of. That part of the story was not very interesting, or new. The depiction of prostitution, on the other hand, was somewhat interesting. However, the role of the prostitute as a redeemed figure of sorts is also rather cliche. It could be that I have read this book rather late, when these topics are passe.
Nina Chachu
Jun 15, 2014 rated it liked it
First novel by Okey Ndibe, who also wrote Foreign Gods, Inc.. ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
yet again a man self-pityingly calls himself a coward rather than admitting he is trash
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okey Ndibe is an absolutely astonishing human being whose mere presence fills whatever space he is in. Having met him twice I can attest to this. His ability to take a simple truth, that there is no excuse for our silence, and turn it into such a riveting story is why 'Arrows Of Rain' is one of my favorite novels. Reading this novel I was very much reminded of Okey Ndibe as a person, as he is one who lends his mouth and his words to stories that need to be spoken about. I will try to continue wi ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are shattering political themes and mantras in Ndibe's first novel, that he seems to encourage himself to write with. The gift of speech is a debt we have towards truth; silence and inaction can be a cowardly betrayal of knowledge; we fear power but power fears memory.
It is not a long novel, but it leaves a mark. The first parts opens on the strong scene of the lifeguard and closes on a trial. At this point, everything is still on the table, Ndibe entertains but does not reveal what he ha
Sep 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was a very poor book for me. I think Ndibe tried way too hard to cover many topics all at once-- a country's corruption, a coward's conundrum and a reporter's epiphany. Eventually, it tells too blandly, without a single atom of suspense at all, just a seemingly endless telling and retelling of torrents of back stories and a few characters that end up having no core relevance to the main plot.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
A low 3, high 2. *Spoilers ahead*

Ok. Let's lay the groundwork of the review now. This man is obviously a talented writer. The descriptions have fire, the narrative is coherent and has significant depth to it, and the characters are well thought out. The first half of this book enthralled me, but I experienced significant problems with the text as I advanced from there towards the end. I suspect that many of those problems are actually due to cultural differences between the author and myself, on
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The beginning of the story starts with a bang, a case to follow, questions are raised and there’s a mystery to follow, a truth that seeks to be found. This just moves the story forward at a good pace and is worth following. The plot! Ndibe did well, I have to say. All the events are so well connected, cohesive, interesting and entertaining. There’s nothing in his sketching of reality that is incomprehensible, all the information he throws at us is at good doses and he never digresses. There are ...more
Temi Sanusi
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
Stories never forgive silence.

Arrows of Rain is a story set in the fictional country of Madia from 1960 or so to 1988. The country is meant to represent Nigeria at that time, though the historical events are still largely the same, with independence followed a corrupt civilian government and finally, a military coup.
The story begins with Femi, a reporter, visiting the crime scene of a woman who had run into the ocean and drowned. The prime suspect is a mad man on the beach of B. Beach (m
Suzanne Ondrus
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book features a male journalist narrator who tells a prostitute's (Iyese) story. Public rape by the military and by the president are events that an individual cannot fight. I appreciated the portrayal of the prostitute becoming a prostitute; it was humanizing. The complexity of the narrator was refreshing. While it was disheartening that he could not stand up and do the right thing (claim his paternity and marry his love), it was refreshing not to have a fairy tale ending. This book would p ...more
Tasha Dhyani
The blurb of the book would lead you to believe that it's about a madman who is accused of and tried for raping and murdering a prostitute; so I thought this book would involve a lot of scenes in a tribunal court with a crazy person (and by "crazy" I mean like 12 Monkeys' Brad Pitt's character crazy) defending himself against a high profile lawyer or something. The madman turns out to be perfectly lucid, a well-educated man with a relatively functioning conscience. He is said to be mad because h ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poco, african

This text explores the failures of the post colonial Nigerian state. Unfortunately, this text has a gender problem. Women exist as one of a few roles: mystical older wise woman, sexualized object or victim, and wives and mothers. A great deal of violence against women is used simply as characterization for an unlikable male narrator. Why doesn’t Iyese ever move? She has moved before and can easily disappear from Isa. But of course, if she were to do that, how would we learn about the stup
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The gripping story of the "madman" Bukuru and the encounters of his previous life which forced him to go into hiding, but at what cost? the author's narrative style is gripping of the newly independent state from colonialism that descends into a military state. I think the story is based on the rule of General Sani Abacha and his military rule - I could be wrong. Each character is the story is well developed which feeds into the whole story. Overall, a very good story and I thoroughly enjoyed it ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a good book. I enjoyed reading something from a foreign author because the point of view is different by default. The character Bukaru was superior to Femi in the use of language so I enjoyed the middle part of the book from his point of view more than the beginning and end. And he was also far more developed... I did not feel emotionally invested in Femi at all.
I was very unsatisfied with the ending. I enjoyed the twist, though if there had been more character development it could hav
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For a first novel, Ndibe did exceptionally well. This is a well written story and i am now inclined to look for other titles by the same author.
The story line picked and flowed from the beginning to the end.
I feel the end could have been better, then again that is what suspense is all about.
Just like a movie, one could create many alternate endings
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is written by a friend/professor at Trinity College/Hartford. He is a fantastic journalist as well. He has helped me understand Nigeria. This novel gives a searing insider's view of how the press works there.
Jessica Jewel
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Each evening, when the sun goes west to rest and darkness falls, many people yield to the body's sweet summons to sleep."

How could you not love a book with such lovely turns of phrase?
Truly phenomenal fiction.
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book gave surprising revelations of the life a prostitute in Nigeria. It made me shudder at what they go through in the dark alleys at night.It is a really dangerous profession. The book is humourous even though it adresses serious social issues about authority and their abuse of power.
Lexynne Bosibori
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Liked this way more than I'd expected. Quick read that is both funny and introspective. And some twists/revelations that you don't see coming. Glad I picked it after staying on my shelf for 3 whole years!
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Good read, but I thought the plot had a couple of familiar twists and dwelt too much on certain characters dialogues.

However, as a first novel. Its impressive and it throws light into how one person's action/ non-action can impact a whole nation.
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, novels
A very painful portrait of moral obligation and regret.
Patrick Nunekpeku
Mar 06, 2011 is currently reading it
dangerous to be a witness
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nigeria
1) If you get a chance to see Okey Ndibe in person, you really should.
2) This book was excellent. I was worried about 40 pages from the end but the last 5 restored it to amazingness for me.
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Okey Ndibe teaches African and African Diaspora literatures at Brown University. He earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Connecticut College, Bard College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). He is the author of Arrows of Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc. He has served on the editorial board of Hartford Courant wh ...more

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“Remember this: a story that must be told never forgives silence. Speech is the mouth's debt to a story.” 8 likes
“To know is sometimes good, but to have the wisdom to accept what you cannot know is better.” 4 likes
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