Ben Okri won the Booker Prize for his novel, The Famished Road, which was described by The Times as 'a brilliant read, unlike anything you have ever read before...the message is universal'. This quotation could equally well apply to Okri's latest novel, Starbook, which offers a rich, stimulating and hopeful vision of the world and is a dazzling achievement of the imagination.
At one level, Starbook tells the delicate story of a prince and a maiden who are both tested by trials, one after the other, in a mythical land where dreams, stillness and creativity are supremely important and guiding forces come from 'the book of life among the stars'. Eventually the two fall in love but always, on their horizon, are disturbing intimations of coming terrors in the form of manacles, exile in a foreign land and sadness... At another level, this remarkable novel discusses African slavery and the crushing impact this has had on the collective unconscious of an entire continent... And on a third, it investigates the interior world of us all where the essence of life is revealed, as well as the power of emptiness and the spaces between things, a place where a different reality can be enjoyed, and beauty, regeneration and fulfilment is entirely possible.
Starbook is thus a story which is not only accessible and a pleasure to read, but is also a novel which can affect us all, no matter where we live and no matter who we think we are. As human beings we all have access to the freedom and the mystery that is available beneath the canopy of stars, where there is a vision of life greater than ourselves...
First published 2007.