• Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth

  • A Novel
  • By: Wole Soyinka
  • Narrated by: Michael Obiora
  • Length: 21 hrs and 40 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR • The first Black winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature gives us a tour de force, combining "elements of a murder mystery, a searing political satire and an Alice in Wonderland-like modern allegory of power and deceit" (Los Angeles Times).

In an imaginary Nigeria, a cunning entrepreneur is selling body parts stolen from Dr. Menka's hospital for use in ritualistic practices. Dr. Menka shares the grisly news with his oldest college friend, bon viveur, star engineer, and Yoruba royal, Duyole Pitan-Payne. The life of every party, Duyole is about to assume a prestigious post at the United Nations in New York, but it now seems that someone is deter­mined that he not make it there. And neither Dr. Menka nor Duyole knows why, or how close the enemy is, or how powerful.

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth is at once a literary hoot, a crafty whodunit, and a scathing indictment of political and social corrup­tion. It is a stirring call to arms against the abuse of power from one of our fiercest political activists, who also happens to be a global literary giant.

©2021 Wole Soyinka (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR • ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S MUST READ BOOKS OF THE YEAR • ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"Though his work has spanned multiple genres—poetry, plays, memoirs and essays—[Soyinka's] new novel manages to chart fresh territory. . . . Chronicles combines elements of a murder mystery, a searing political satire and an Alice in Wonderland-like modern allegory of power and deceit." Los Angeles Times

"It is Soyinka’s greatest novel, his revenge against the insanities of the nation’s ruling class and one of the most shocking chronicles of an African nation in the 21st century. It ought to be widely read." —Ben Okri, The Guardian 

"A biting satire that looks at corruption in an imaginary contemporary Nigeria, Chronicles is also an intriguing and droll whodunit. . . . A brilliant story that takes on politics, class, corruption, and religion from the very first chapters. It highlights Soyinka’s lush, elegant language." Publishers Weekly

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My Worst Audio Book Purchase Ever!

Listening to this audio book is one painful 21+ hours of torture for any Nigerian listener. There were a lot of Nigerian names of people, places and things used in this book, as well as a handful of common phrases, slangs and idioms, and the narrator mis-pronounced every single one. I mean, every single one! Very pathetic!

For a professional project of this nature, one would think that the producers would do one of the following:
1. Get a narrator that is familiar with most, if not all of the non-English words and phrases used in the book
2. Get the narrator to learn the correct pronunciation of the words - it was very obvious that the narrator made absolutely no efforts to learn how to pronounce any of the non-English words, as he felt he could just pronounce every word and name as if they were English words
3. As a last resort, encourage the Author to narrate his own work - it would have been a great joy listening to Professor Wole Soyinka himself

The narrator, though has a Nigerian surname, obviously had no Nigerian background nor familiarity with Nigerian names of any kind. Even foreigners would have done a better job of pronouncing the names of some of the cities and common slangs used in the book - I mean, how hard is it to pronounce correctly "Ibadan", "Oyo", or even "ogogoro", just to name a few?
It is highly recommended that this audio book be reproduced using a more suitable narrator that is fit for the purpose. This audio book would have been a lot more enjoyable, and the story rated higher if one had been able to hear the works correctly.
For the Nigerian readers out there, I would recommend that you buy and read the printed copy for yourself at this time. Don't spoil your listening pleasure!

5 people found this helpful