June 2011 Indie Next List
“In this beautiful, truth-seeking novel, journalists Rufus and Zaq make their way through the fetid, oil-choked waters of the Nigerian Delta in search of the kidnapped wife of an oil executive. Rufus, young and eager to prove himself, is thrilled at the prospect of a big story and to be working with his hero, Zaq. But their journey into the dense wilderness takes on a much different form than either expected, and they are thrust into events beyond their control. Oil on Water is a suspenseful story about globalization, ambition, and the unwieldy nature of truth.”
— Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL
From the desks of Nigeria's newsrooms, two journalists are recruited to find the kidnapped wife of a British oil engineer. Zaq, an infamous media hack, knows what's in store, but Rufus, a keen young journalist eager to get himself noticed, has no idea what he's let himself in for. Journeying into the oil-rich regions of the Niger Delta, where militants rule and the currency dealt in is the lives of hostages, Rufus soon finds himself acting as intermediary between editor, husband, captive and soldier. As they follow the trail of the missing woman, love for the 'story' becomes about much more than just uncovering her whereabouts, and instead becomes a mission to make sense of their own muddled lives. In a cruel twist of fate, Rufus finds himself taking on Zaq's role much more literally than he ever anticipated, and as the body count rises, and the environment burns, he learns that truth can often be a bitter pill to swallow.
About the Author
Helon Habila is a Nigerian novelist, poet and academic. He is the author of the novels Waiting for an Angel, Measuring Time and Oil on Water, and has won literary prizes including the Caine Prize and the Windham/Campbell Literature Prize. He teaches creative writing at George Mason University, Washington, and his most recent book The Chibok Girls will be published by Penguin Books in April 2017.