Ben Okri
Op ed

A Magic Man’s Magical Pen -Ben Okri

He is an African from Nigeria. His name is Ben Okri—one of the greatest geniuses Nigeria would ever dream to have. He is not really a magician in the sense of an exhibitive illusionist. This man is super-intelligent.
Not because he has invented any complicated computer systems, nor because he has provided a scientific answer to the world’s dreaded bio-medical puzzles like AIDS and the rest of them, nor because he has provided Pragmatic solutions to the world’s socio-political and economic predicaments.

Ben Okri, simply put it this way, has a complex imaginative mind system any one could think of. As a creative writer, he has the prolific technique of delving into the inner mechanism of the world in its diversification of beings and levels of beings. He is a gifted intellect who processes the innerness of the universe as a comprehensive unit of facts and speculations. He is one of the rare writers who understood, like Ludwig Wittgenstein, that language, both spoken and written should act as a visual representative of something. His style of writing is unique. His choice of words and style of expressions are magnetic in allurements. Reading his works, he takes you to the echelon of wonders, deeper thoughts, questions and reflection. He knows how to pick something from his experience, and then identifies it to humanity’s experience. Because every human being in this world is faced with some sense of exilic puzzlement, happiness, perplexity, fear, uncertainty, disappointment etcetera. He understands that the humanBen okri ingress into this planetary sphere of bio-existence is punctuated with a universal sense of optimism and pessimism as well.

When he writes, his readers do not rove among dead prosaic words. He knows how to command his words, phrases, clauses and sentences to incarnate visibly in the mind’s eye. You see in vivid lucidity the pictorial realism being described. This is precisely why his method of creative literary animation is called magic realism. With his African experiences at the core his fictional prowess, his writings nevertheless have universal touch to humanity’s common experiences. That is why reading him is so thrilling. One is drown into and through the fascination of the magic world he paints. As a gifted writer, he expresses a sense of an ongoing re-creation of the human history through the stories deeply embedded within the core of the human spirits; stories that expose our limitedness in the struggle for self-realization and purposefulness in this universe. He could descend deeper into the socio-cultural precinct of humanity as he experiences it from his insightful perspective and then scoops out the vital dialogue that defines it worldview.

It was about five years ago when I came in touch with the writings of this arty genius. I first read The Famished Road. In the novel, one meets the magnetism of fictional creativeness. The book, obviously plotted within African universe is both intelligible and ethereal in vintage point of presentation. It exposes the African concept of the form of life. That is, the riddle of space and time, eternity, appearance, reality and the unchained expedition of the human mind to unseen possibilities. In the book, one sees a clear image of life’s continuous struggles between the factuality of here and now and the mental cogitation of the yonder, the uncertain, the indistinct, the illusory and the confusing. The purpose of my article is not to offer an analytical presentation of Ben Okra’s biography and works as to express the impressiveness of his magnetic literalism; either is it meant to present a chronology of his books. He has created lots of literary works which should be found in book store and in Amazon. So anyone who wishes to know the beauty of literature as coming from this Nigerian born writer should pick up one of his numerous works and read. Perhaps, by the time one meet with his writing, one might as well begin to see that pen is like a magical tool in the hand of this magic man.

CSN: 31419-2008-11-48

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