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Things Fall Apart (African Writers Series)…

Things Fall Apart (African Writers Series) (original 1958; edition 1968)

by Chinua Achebe

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13,599307156 (3.74)815
Title:Things Fall Apart (African Writers Series)
Authors:Chinua Achebe
Info:Heinemann Educational Books (1968), Edition: First Printing, Paperback, 200 pages
Collections:Your library

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958)

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English (297)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All (307)
Showing 1-5 of 297 (next | show all)
Sons were assigned this for book club and I chose to read it as well. Interesting native perspective on west African life at the turn of the last century, and a scathing reminder of the devastation effected by Christian missionaries throughout the world and conquest by western "civilization". The spare narrative doesn't stand out as particularly good literature (not that I'm one to know), but the glimpse into another culture makes it worth the read. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
An introspective look on Nigerian tribal life that I could never hope to witness (let alone experience) first-hand. The story is engaging and the characters charismatic, even if Achebe's style of writing felt a bit tangential and jumpy. ( )
  benuathanasia | May 5, 2017 |
I saw this book on one of the shelves in my mom's house, though I don't know who it belongs to. Was it something Erin was assigned in high school? Or perhaps she chose it herself. Perhaps it's my mom's, though it doesn't seem like the kind of thing she'd usually be drawn to. It's a puzzle that could be easily answered, I'm sure, if I asked, but I've yet to do that and so far just keep wondering what the reader before me brought to it.

I get the feeling that it's a frequently-assigned book for class, in part because it hits that key quality of being both brief and rich. (I thought of the fake college syllabus for English 401: The Short Novel. "In this class, we will analyze some of World Literature’s greatest short novels in an attempt to interrogate the essence of plot and character while reading as few words as possible.") All that sounds like I'm minimizing this book, which I don't mean to do. It was just that I couldn't separate it from my academic training. Was it because of the cultural divide between this story's roots and my own? Did I only feel safe judging it when I could say to myself, ah, yes, repetition that demarcates an origin in the oral tradition and self-critical construction of masculinity in a time of burgeoning colonialism? I found myself putting it on my imaginary syllabus next to [b:The Pearl|5308|The Pearl|John Steinbeck|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1437234939s/5308.jpg|195832], another short book with folktale qualities, and discussing the far greater cultural nuances and moral complexities we found here.

There are the books I like to study and there are the books I love and there are the books I studied and hate. For me this book is pretty much the very Form of the first category. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
I had a hard time getting through the book. I didn't feel excited about the characters, the plot seemed underwhelming, and the writing, rather bland. ( )
  LaPhenix | Mar 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 297 (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.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chinua Achebeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Appiah, Kwame AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bandele, BiyiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vertaalgroep Administratief Centrum BergeykTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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"
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.
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)

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[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.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141023384, 0141186887

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