The Freedom Artist
by Ben Okri
"Okri’s somber, fablelike novel is a call to rally against oppressive institutions and for broader social consciousness. In that regard, it’s an inheritor of The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and Things Fall Apart…Okri’s writing is sturdy and graceful, fully inhabiting the authoritative tone of mythmaking."
"Where fiction’s master of enchantments stares down a real horror, and without blinking or flinching, produces a work of beauty, grace, and uncommon power."
—Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Included in Publishers Weekly’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Preview for 2019-2020!
Included in Publishers Weekly’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Preview for 2019-2020 (African Diaspora-inspired SFF)!
"The Freedom Artist represents a heady jumble of influence and inspiration, a tapestry of biblical reference, mythology, folklore and fable. The lyrical simplicity of Okri’s prose, with its short sentences and chapters, only heightens the power of the novel’s political message."
"A multilayered allegorical narrative that cuts to the heart of our current political and cultural malaise, while maintaining a mythical, mesmeric flavor that makes the reader feel these are stories they have always known…It’s savagely political, disturbing and fiercely optimistic, the deeply felt work of a writer who refuses to stop asking the hardest questions."
"Just as you’re thinking, ’So this is what Dave Eggers’s The Circle would be like if it were written by a poet, ’ Okri slips you a shot of ayahuasca and things get decidedly freaky and apocalyptic…A beautiful and timely appeal for the importance of books, subversive stories and love."
—The Times (UK)
In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner?
When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization that to find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her question.
Karnak’s search leads him into a terrifying world of deception, oppression, and fear at the heart of which lies the prison. Then Karnak discovers that he is not the only one looking for the truth.
The Freedom Artist is an impassioned plea for justice and a penetrating examination of how freedom is threatened in a post-truth society. In Ben Okri’s most significant novel since the Booker Prize-winning The Famished Road, he delivers a powerful and haunting call to arms.