[12] Oil on Water by Helon Habila

Book Cover: [12] Oil on Water by Helon Habila

BOOK: Oil on Water
AUTHOR: Helon Habila
YEAR: 2010

Young journalist Rufus is on the lookout for his first major scoop. When the wife of a British oil executive is kidnapped by militants, Rufus senses opportunity. Rufus teams up with veteran journalist and former hero Zaq. Together they set off on a dangerous quest through the environmentally ravaged Niger Delta to locate and negotiate the release of the kidnapped woman.

The twelfth book in the LAX LAB climate fiction book club is Helon Habila’s novel Oil on Water. The novel shares some similar themes with our last novel (Denial by American author Jon Raymond), however it is told from a different and contemporary perspective. Oil on Water is written by Nigerian author and poet Habila and offers an alternate view on the workings and impacts of the oil industry. The novel is lauded as a fast-paced adventure and mystery that engages with the complex themes of neocolonialism, petroculture, and Nigerian oil politics. It is considered a work of petrofiction and is described as ‘a strange, almost hallucinatory plunge into the dangerous world of the Niger delta’.

Climate justice
Fossil fuels
Oil politics

Emma Arnold