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Things Fall Apart (1958)

by Chinua Achebe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: African Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,995371223 (3.75)1 / 933
[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.
  1. 140
    Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (mrstreme)
  2. 185
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (SanctiSpiritus)
  3. 185
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (jlelliott, bbudke)
    jlelliott: Each tells the story of Christian missionaries in Africa, one from the perspective of the missionaries, one from the perspective of the local people targeted for "salvation".
  4. 41
    Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih (Rubbah)
  5. 41
    Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (Osbaldistone)
  6. 42
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (Ellen_Elizabeth)
    Ellen_Elizabeth: Another classic, historical fiction novel that explores traditional culture through the story and of one man and his family. Both were written in English and illustrate the author's perceived strengths and weaknesses of the subject culture in a way that is accessible to western readers.… (more)
  7. 21
    The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka (libron)
    libron: Similar themes
  8. 10
    The Palm-Wine Drinkard and his Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Deads' Town by Amos Tutuola (Cecrow)
  9. 11
    Living Memories: Kenya's Untold Stories by Al Kags (WorldreaderBCN)
  10. 00
    Death and the King's Horseman by Wole Soyinka (hazzabamboo)
  11. 01
    The Ghost of Sani Abacha by Chuma Nwokolo (WorldreaderBCN)
  12. 03
    In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides (GaryBigfoot)
  13. 16
    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (andomck)
    andomck: Both books are about colonization. One is from the perspective of colonizer, the other the colonized.
  14. 012
    Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (TuesdayNovember)
    TuesdayNovember: Both follow the fall of a callous man - one great, one not quite so.
1950s (5)
Africa (3)
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» See also 933 mentions

English (356)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (3)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (371)
Showing 1-5 of 356 (next | show all)
The story is well written and really gives you a sense of what life in these small African communities was like with it's laws, and beliefs that may seem strange to those not familiar with them. The conflict in the book is one that shows how things really happened, and you can only imagine the fear of the strange new world that was being injected forcefully upon them. This is an important book to have in your "read" list as it shows a different side of the story most of us all know so well.. ( )
  sjh4255 | May 4, 2021 |
What can I say that better readers and writers haven't already said? Powerful and tragic, the simplicity of story and language masks the complexity of the clash between cultures, between gods, between a character's pride and his helplessness in the face of history. ( )
  evano | Apr 24, 2021 |
Africa and missionaries; Nobel
  18cran | Apr 10, 2021 |
I read this in high school and many, many years later, it still haunts me. Beautifully written and poignant. ( )
  KarenBayly | Apr 10, 2021 |
So simply told in a distinctly African voice. Major happenings that clearly have a huge impact on the final outcome could easily be missed in the narrative alongside the wonderful descriptions of tribal life and customs. This is what befalls a society when the delicate threads that hold it together are interfered with by outsiders who have no understanding or interest and are just out for themselves. Let that be a lesson to us all!! Highly recommended. ( )
  Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 356 (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 (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Achebe, Chinuaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appiah, Kwame AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bandele, BiyiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dicker, JaapTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dicker, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Okeke, UcheIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puigtobella, BernatTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodriguez, EdelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serraillier, IanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vertaalgroep Administratief Centrum BergeykTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werk, Jan Kees van deAfterwordsecondary 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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[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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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.
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Average: (3.75)
0.5 8
1 83
1.5 12
2 273
2.5 37
3 872
3.5 225
4 1378
4.5 135
5 862

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141023384, 0141186887

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