Things Fall Apart

Front Cover
Heinemann, 1996 - Fiction - 148 pages
39 Reviews

This expanded edition of Chinua Achebe's first novel portrays the collision of African and European cultures in an Igbo village. Okonkwo, a great man in Igbo traditional society, cannot adapt to the profound changes brought by the British conquest of Nigeria. Yet, as in classic tragedy, Okonkwo's character as well as external forces contribute to his downfall.

This expanded edition includes new illustrations, maps, additional essays on history, culture,and literature, and reference material to help readers see Achebe's classic novel in social and historical context, and to understand its place in world literature.

 

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User Review  - ryvre - LibraryThing

I have trouble enjoying a book if I don't like the main character, and Okonkwo is impossible to like. He's a misogynist and terribly violent. There's a lot of information here, and the setting is ... Read full review

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Things Fall Apart is an affectionate description of the culture of an Ibo clan told from an insider's viewpoint, focusing on the life of Okonkwo, one of his tribe's most respected leaders. The customs and religion of the Ibo village are described with sympathy and simplicity, creating a sense of nostalgia for a way of life completely exotic to Western sensibilities, but making the reader feel the force and logic of a traditional culture seen from within. This idyllic description is clouded by the reader's awareness of the culture's fragility, a foreboding sense of pity and of looming disaster. Disaster comes, of course, in the shape of white missionaries. In the last part of the story, evangelizing Christians and English colonial administrators establish themselves in the Ibo village, and act to corrode and unravel the traditional life of the Ibo people. An escalating series of misunderstandings and conflicts between the whites and natives lead to the inevitable tragic ending. In the last paragraph of the novel, the perspective shifts suddenly to that of the English colonial adminstrator, and ends with one of the most powerful and affecting last lines of any novel I've read.
This book was thoroughly enjoyable, and I recommend it unreservedly.
 

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Contents

Preface
v
Igbo Culture and History by Don Ohadike
xix
Principal Characters in the Novel
li
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

CHINUA ACHEBE was born in 1930 in the village of Ogidi in Eastern Nigeria. After studying medicine and literature at the University of Ibadan, he went to work for the Nigerian broadcasting company in Lagos. Things Fall Apart, his first novel was published in 1958. It sold over 2,000,000 copies, and has been translated into 30 languages. It was followed by No Longer at Ease, then Arrow of God (which won the first New Statesman Jock Campbell Prize), then A Man of the People (a novel dealing with post-independence Nigeria). Achebe has also written short stories and children's books, and Beware Soul Brother, a book of his poetry, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1972.Achebe has been at the Universities of Nigeria, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and among the many honours he has received are the award of a Fellowship of the Modern Language Association of America, and doctorates from the Universities of Stirling, Southampton and Kent. He followed Heinrich Boll, th

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