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Thoughts on Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

July 30, 2011

Things Fall Apart (Goodreads)

Usually I’m good about writing posts right after I read the book, but lately I’ve been suffering from a little writer’s block.  Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is an excellent novel about a man in a small Nigerian village.

This book provided what seems to be a well written glimpse into the daily life of a Nigerian village.  The tale was written in 1959.  It chronicles the life of a man named Okonkwo.  Though he is not, to me, a likable character, he is nevertheless a fascinating one to follow.  He is a tough man who is hard on his wives and children, but much of this is explained by his being raised by a weaker father.

“Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond.  His fame rested on solid personal achievement.”

He is a famous man and a rough man.  He is also very traditional and driven by the desire to gain more and more personal power in the village.  The first half of the book discusses his early life and the general life within the village, until Okonkwo does something to bring shame to his family and must move to his maternal home.

The second half of the book centers on the influx of Christian missionaries into the land.  This part was extremely fascinating in that it discusses individual perceptions of the missionaries and how to deal with them.  Okonkwo is a proponent of violence and you see how this affects his thinking throughout the book.

Achebe is an excellent writer and Things Fall Apart was a book that I had a hard time parting from.  I was immersed in the life of Okonkwo and didn’t want to put the book down once I began reading it.  Even if I didn’t always like the character or more that I didn’t like the things he did, I was still fully enraptured in his tale.

Overall, this is a wonderful book and one I would recommend anyone read.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2011 9:41 am

    I’m so happy to see that you read this and enjoyed it. Achebe really is a brilliant writer and part of his brilliance, I think, is it not painting anything as good or evil but rather showing the in between places. I hope you will read more by him!

  2. August 7, 2011 12:14 am

    Thanks for the review. I’m glad that you enjoyed the book. So I’d like to put in a word for Arrow of God, which for me is Achebe’s book. Do check it out, when you have the time of course 🙂

  3. August 7, 2011 12:15 am

    oops. Meant to say “Achebe’s best book”.

  4. January 25, 2012 6:11 pm

    I agree this is a fascinating book-I just read it for the first time about two weeks ago-there is a sequel book that goes more into the impact of the missionaries and colonists I hope to read soon-I hope you will be back to active posting soon as I miss your insights-I hope you can join in for Irish Short Story Week Year Two starting March 12

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