Helon Habila: Oil on Water

(495 words)
  • Rita Nnodim (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts)

Habila’s most recent novel takes us to the oil-rich Niger Delta in a story that revolves around an aspiring journalist, Rufus, who sets out in a quest to search for the kidnapped wife of a British petroleum engineer; he is accompanied by Zak, a legendary journalist who has fallen from grace into alcohol and ill health.

More than anything else, this is a novel that depicts the heart-wrenching devastation left by the ruthless and exploitative operations of transnational oil companies in the Niger Delta. It is a tale of environmental degradation that transforms landscapes into surreal uninhabitable spaces. It is a tale of the destruction of people’s livelihoods and the unaccountable social changes that devastate local …

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Nnodim, Rita. "Oil on Water". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 July 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=33479, accessed 28 September 2016.]