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Things Fall Apart

Monday 25/March/2019 - 08:22 AM
Book cover
Book cover
A true classic of world literature... A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria، across Africa، and around the world.” —Barack Obama

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Things Fall Apart is the first of three novels in Chinua Achebe's critically acclaimed African Trilogy. It is a classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. 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.

With more than 20 million copies sold and translated into fifty-seven languages، Things Fall Apart provides one of the most illuminating and permanent monuments to African experience. Achebe does not only capture life in a pre-colonial African village، he conveys the tragedy of the loss of that world while broadening our understanding of our contemporary realities.

Paperback: 209 pages
Author: Chinua Achebe
Publisher: Penguin Books (September 1، 1994)
Language: English
Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches

About the Author
Chinua Achebe (1930–2013) was born in Nigeria. Widely considered to be the father of modern African literature، he is best known for his masterful African Trilogy، consisting of Things Fall Apart، Arrow of God، and No Longer at Ease. The trilogy tells the story of a single Nigerian community over three generations from first colonial contact to urban migration and the breakdown of traditional cultures. He is also the author of Anthills of the Savannah، A Man of the People، Girls at War and Other Stories، Home and Exile، Hopes and Impediments، Collected Poems، The Education of a British-Protected Child، Chike and the River، and There Was a Country. He was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and، for more than fifteen years، was the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. Achebe was the recipient of the Nigerian National Merit Award، Nigeria’s highest award for intellectual achievement. In 2007، Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement.

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com Review
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

Praise for Chinua Achebe

“A true classic of world literature...A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria، across Africa، and around the world.” — Barack Obama

“A magical writer—one of the greatest of the twentieth century.” —Margaret Atwood

“African literature is incomplete and unthinkable without the works of Chinua Achebe.” —Toni Morrison
“Chinua Achebe has shown that a mind that observes clearly but feels deeply enough to afford laughter may be more wise than all the politicians and journalists.” —Time

“Chinua Achebe is gloriously gifted with the magic of an ebullient، generous، great talent.” —Nadine Gordimer

“Achebe’s influence should go on and on... teaching and reminding that all humankind is one.” —The Nation

“The father of African literature in the English language and undoubtedly one of the most important writers of the second half of the twentieth century.” —Caryl Phillips، The Observer

“We are indebted to Achebe for reminding us that art has social and moral dimension—a truth often obscured.” —Chicago Tribune

“He is one of the few writers of our time who has touched us with a code of values that will never be ironic.” —Michael Ondaatje

“For so many readers around the world، it is Chinua Achebe who opened up the magic casements of African fiction.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah

“[Achebe] is one of world literature’s great humane voices.” —Times Literary Supplement

“Achebe is one of the most distinguished artists to emerge from the West African cultural renaissance of the post-war world.” —The Sunday Times (London)

“[Achebe is] a powerful voice for cultural decolonization.” —The Village Voice

“The power and majesty of Chinua Achebe’s work has، literally، opened the world to generations of readers. He is an ambassador of art، and a profound recorder of the human condition.” —Michael Dorris

From the Publisher
This is Chinua Achebe's classic novel، with more than two million copies sold since its first U.S. publication in 1969. Combining a richly African story with the author's keen awareness of the qualities common to all humanity، Achebe here shows that he is "gloriously gifted، with the magic of an ebullient، generous، great talent." -- Nadine Gordimer

Edited by: Yara Sameh

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