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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
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Things Fall Apart (1958)

by Chinua Achebe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: African Trilogy (1)

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1950s (3)
Read (33)
Africa (7)
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» See also 846 mentions

English (311)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (323)
Showing 1-5 of 311 (next | show all)
# 6 of 100 Classics Challenge

Things Fall Apart🍒🍒🍒🍒
By China Achebe
1959

Awesome book. A must read!
"The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peacefully with his religion. We were amused by his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that hold us together and we have fallen apart. "

The culture.....The religion. ....the religion of culture, the culture of religion....the humanity of all people and beliefs....This hit me on so many levels, I'm unsure how to describe it's influence....

In Part One, this book explores the culture in Africa, in the small village of Ibo, in Nigeria. It is the story of Okonkwo, the greatest wrestler in 9 villages whose wealth include 3 wives, numerous children and 2 barns of yams. His brutal, selfish manner is feared, his beliefs fearfully followed and never questioned. His rise to power is followed by his quick fall.
Part Two, the white Christians begin to appear and are considered devils and weak. Men were considered effeminate and referred to as women.
When one of Okonkwo sons become interested in this new kind of belief. This enraged Okonkwo and he begins to unravel. ....soon more and more are joining this church, and rejecting the old ways. ( )
  over.the.edge | Sep 16, 2018 |
I’m not sure ‘enjoyed’ is the correct word, but I was very invested in this 60-year-old story of pre-colonial Africa and what happened when Europeans began to arrive on the scene. While it’s hard to like Okonkwo and some of the elements of Igbo culture as depicted here, it’s impossible not to feel heartbroken as the arrival of white missionaries begins to destroy a culture and way of life. Achebe’s writing is masterful. ( )
  sprainedbrain | Aug 12, 2018 |
I had never read this book until my first year of teaching. This was on the list of recommended reading in our curriculum for our sophomores, so I built a lesson around this book. I had no clue what I was doing in the teaching part (it was my first year) but the book was definitely powerful and made an impact regardless of my crap teaching job, which really speaks to Chinua Achebe and his power over words.
  justagirlwithabook | Aug 1, 2018 |
Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man's futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political andreligious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.
  Lake_O_UCC | Jul 8, 2018 |
At last I’ve read that classic of African literature, China Achebe’s Things fall apart. It all came about because this year ABC RN’s classics book club is doing Africa. As I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, and as my reading group has been making a practice of choosing one ABC RN bookclub book a year, I recommended Things fall apart and – woohoo – they agreed. I am so happy! OK, so I’m easily pleased, but …

The funny thing is that as I started it, I did wonder what all the acclaim was about. Yes, I was finding the writing gorgeous, and yes, I found all the detail about life in the little Igbo village of Umuofia fascinating, but were these enough for its huge reputation? Then, I got to Part 2 – this is a classic three-part book – and the arrival of white man and the missionaries in southeastern Nigeria. The plot started to thicken – but, not just the plot. The whole gorgeous structure of the novel, its complexity and its sophisticated analysis of human society and the colonial imperative started to become clear.

For my full review, please check my blog: https://whisperinggums.com/2016/04/28/chinua-achebe-things-fall-apart-review/ ( )
  minerva2607 | May 13, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 311 (next | show all)

Set in the late 19th century, at the height of the "Scramble" for African territories by the great European powers, Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, a proud and highly respected Igbo from Umuofia, somewhere near the Lower Niger. Okonkwo's clan are farmers, their complex society a patriarchal, democratic one. Achebe suggests that village life has not changed substantially in generations.

The first part of a trilogy, Things Fall Apart was one of the first African novels to gain worldwide recognition: half a century on, it remains one of the great novels about the colonial era.
 
[Achebe] describes the many idyllic features of pre-Christian native life with poetry and humor. But his real achievement is his ability to see the strengths and weaknesses of his characters with a true novelist's compassion.
 

» Add other authors (49 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chinua Achebeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Appiah, Kwame AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bandele, BiyiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puigtobella, BernatTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vertaalgroep Administratief Centrum BergeykTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

—W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming"
Dedication
First words
Okonkwo was well-known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honour to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat.
Quotations
The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.
There is no story that is not true.
The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.
If I hold her hand she says, Don't Touch!. If I hold her foot she says Don't Touch! But when I hold her waist-beads she pretends not to know.
A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.
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Book description
More than two million copies of Things Fall Apart have been sold in the United States since it was first published here in 1959. Worldwide, there are eight million copies in print in fifty different languages. This is Chinua Achebe's masterpiece and it is often compared to the great Greek tragedies, and currently sells more than one hundred thousand copies a year in the United States.
A simple story of a "strong man" whose life is dominated by fear and anger, Things Fall Apart is written with remarkable economy and subtle irony. Uniquely and richly African, at the same time it reveals Achebe's keen awareness of the human qualities common to men of all times and places.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385474547, Paperback)

One of Chinua Achebe's many achievements in his acclaimed first novel, Things Fall Apart, is his relentlessly unsentimental rendering of Nigerian tribal life before and after the coming of colonialism. First published in 1958, just two years before Nigeria declared independence from Great Britain, the book eschews the obvious temptation of depicting pre-colonial life as a kind of Eden. Instead, Achebe sketches a world in which violence, war, and suffering exist, but are balanced by a strong sense of tradition, ritual, and social coherence. His Ibo protagonist, Okonkwo, is a self-made man. The son of a charming ne'er-do-well, he has worked all his life to overcome his father's weakness and has arrived, finally, at great prosperity and even greater reputation among his fellows in the village of Umuofia. Okonkwo is a champion wrestler, a prosperous farmer, husband to three wives and father to several children. He is also a man who exhibits flaws well-known in Greek tragedy:
Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo's fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father.
And yet Achebe manages to make this cruel man deeply sympathetic. He is fond of his eldest daughter, and also of Ikemefuna, a young boy sent from another village as compensation for the wrongful death of a young woman from Umuofia. He even begins to feel pride in his eldest son, in whom he has too often seen his own father. Unfortunately, a series of tragic events tests the mettle of this strong man, and it is his fear of weakness that ultimately undoes him.

Achebe does not introduce the theme of colonialism until the last 50 pages or so. By then, Okonkwo has lost everything and been driven into exile. And yet, within the traditions of his culture, he still has hope of redemption. The arrival of missionaries in Umuofia, however, followed by representatives of the colonial government, completely disrupts Ibo culture, and in the chasm between old ways and new, Okonkwo is lost forever. Deceptively simple in its prose, Things Fall Apart packs a powerful punch as Achebe holds up the ruin of one proud man to stand for the destruction of an entire culture. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:52 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

[This book is] a simple story of a "strong man" whose life is dominated by fear and anger ... Uniquely ... African, at the same time it reveals [the author's] ... awareness of the human qualities common to men of all times and places.-Back cover.

» see all 9 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141023384, 0141186887

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