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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)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,794286182 (3.74)752
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» See also 752 mentions

English (277)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (286)
Showing 1-5 of 277 (next | show all)
Somewhat disappointing novel by an African novelist. Although frequently cited, I found it not particularly interesting. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 24, 2016 |
Picked up the book at a school fair sale in june. It is an old paperbabck edition, and the binding glue was disintegrating, but as long as the book was held carefully it was still readable. It was super cheap, a dime or something similar. The story, though…..priceless.
( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Conte Africain de style traditionnel qui concerne la colonisation des Ibos au Nigeria; faut-il et peut-on resister, mais il y a des collaborateurs; la tradition elle meme presente de graves defauts...
Un beau livre, universel... ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
What a tragic and thought-provoking story. On one level, it's the story of the eradication of the native way of life by white, imperialist, Europeans. On another level, it's the story of a man who sees his religion, traditions, and lifestyle collapsing around him. On another level, it's an exploration into the rich rituals and traditions of an African tribe, in contrast with the supposed "civilization" of the Christian missionaries. Overall, a book I enjoyed tremendously and devoured quickly. ( )
  BooksForYears | Apr 1, 2016 |
'Things Fall Apart' is a very educational introduction to the way of life in the clans/tribes of Nigeria. The story focus's on the life of Okonkwo, who was revered as a great warrior and rose above the life status of his father. A strong tribesman who worked hard to gain title within his clan and to keep the ways of his ancestors. His chi seemed to go against him and he suffered greatly from the consequences of his anger. Chinua Achebe introduces us to the rituals of early tribal life with vivid characters and eventually to the clash of cultures with the arrival of the white man and the aggressive English missionaries. There were some very moving, emotional even tear jerking sections and I was left feeling so sad at the end of this book for the controversial impact the white man had on the life of these people.
  Hayfastutman | Apr 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 277 (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 (51 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chinua Achebeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appiah, Kwame AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bandele, BiyiIntroductionsecondary 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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Wikipedia in English (4)

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 7 descriptions

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Editions: 0141023384, 0141186887

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