Things Fall ApartBook - 1994
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.
From the critics
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“Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.”
“Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.”
“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.”
"He [Okonkwo] had a slight stammer and whenever he was angry and could not get his words out quickly enough, he would use his fists."
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Things Fall Apart tells the story of an Ibo (Igbo) man, Okonkwo, whose life in southern Nigeria is one of local fame and high standing. He has worked aggressively and tirelessly for everything he has- much unlike his father, whom he finds detestable. Despite his successes, some of his family members suffer in silent turmoil at the hands of their violent and volatile father. When European colonization comes to his village, the world where he grew up changes in an instant. Loyalty, exile, betrayal, and redemption all play a role in this globally-acclaimed modern African novel.
Okonkwo is a celebrated wrestling champion and a well-off member of Umuofia society. As the novel explores his background as well as his struggle against the spread of Christianity, the reader is transported to pre-colonial Africa.
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