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Next Up: Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart is one of those novels that I’ve always heard about and always thought to myself, I’ll read that one day, but I’ve never got around to doing it.

So I’m looking forward to seeing what I think about this book.

The novel is about a leader (and wrestling champion) in a small village in Nigeria in the late 19th century. The story focuses on the culture and customs of his clan, and how they are affected when a group of white, European missionaries arrive. It’s considered one of the premier African novels written in the English language.

A few facts about Things Fall Apart and its author, Chinua Achebe:

  • Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart is a staple book in African schools and very popular in English-speaking countries all over the world.
  • The novel’s title comes from a William Butler Yeats poem: “The Second Coming.”
  • Things Fall Apart has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 50 languages.
  • Chinua Achebe, 81, is currently the Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.
  • Achebe won the Man Booker Prize in 2007 and his memoirs will be published later this year.

What Did Time Say? “A novel of great power that turns the world upside down.”

Critic Ernest N. Emenyonu said Things Fall Apart “is indeed a classic study of cross-cultural misunderstanding and the consequences to the rest of humanity, when a belligerent culture or civilization, out of sheer arrogance and ethnocentrism, takes it upon itself to invade another culture, another civilization.”

I expect that many of you have read Things Fall Apart, though I haven’t. I’m looking forward to reading about the Nigerian culture during this time period.

How is it?


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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. I was definitely too young when I read it. I need to re-read it as a non-high school student and see if I like it any better.

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  2. I’ve just done an unsuccessful (but feeble) search as I’m sure “Things fall apart” is a Shakespeare quote (from the tempest??? I just can’t remember). I think this is why Yeates used the phrase too. In fact maybe one of your posts will be on all the books that borrow lines from Shax for their titles? Achebe’s novel is brilliant, and I guess most Nigerians are very proud he’s beaten the literati at their own game.

    Like

    May 24, 2012
    • Agree. Sounds like it’s an awesome book. Great idea about the Shakespeare post, too!

      Like

      May 24, 2012
  3. This sounds interesting – I had not heard of it before. Evidently not that popular at my English-speaking school!

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  4. Jason #

    This is on my ever-growing “To Read” list; maybe seeing it here will motivate me to pick it up after my current read!

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  5. I read an article by Achebe in a few of my literature and culture classes in reference to writing and culture in general. His perspective i extremely enlightening, and I remember his writing style to be very thorough. Let us know what you think! Undoubtedly, looking at things from a different angle will be a learning experience. I know I grew more mentally flexible from reading his arguments.

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  6. Teresa #

    I like the mix of folk tales, history, factual information about village life rolled up into a well-told story about the impact of Western colonialism on a well-functioning Nigerian tribe.

    There are some interesting parallels to Gone With the Wind in terms of culture clash and domination.

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  7. This is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a great book about the impact of colonization and clash of cultures. It’s great because it explores both sides of the story. And it’s a very straightforward and easy to read book.

    I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on this book.

    Like

    May 24, 2012
    • I’ve noticed how simple his writing style is in the early parts of the book. Like you say, very straightforward. Like it.

      Like

      May 24, 2012
  8. I think that I read this one and I think that it was sad. SO MANY SAD BOOKS ROBERT!

    Like

    May 24, 2012
    • I know! Like I said in a recent post, when this is over I’m going to start raising money from you guys to pay for my therapy!

      Like

      May 24, 2012
  9. Read it for school. It wasn’t bad. Not a huge fan of post colonialism literature but not bad

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  10. A must read! One of my absolute favorite books, I’ve read it three times already and intend to do so again by the end of the year. The prose is mesmerizing in its simplicity and the story is reminiscent of traditional African oratory. It’s also a beautiful introduction to the pre-colonial tribal culture of Nigeria.

    I lived in Nigeria for 19 years (grew up there) so as you can imagine, such books are close to my heart 😉

    Like

    May 24, 2012
    • Wow. Please offer your insight on this book and the culture as I post about it. Would love to hear your thoughts since you lived there.

      Like

      May 24, 2012
  11. I read this for a high school English class and despised it for being super depressing, but I think I was probably too young to really appreciate its merits. I half want to read it again and focus on why this book is important and fantastic instead of just thinking “this is miserable,” but I’m not sure I can overcome my younger self’s aversion. I’m interested to hear what you think after reading it!

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  12. A great read. Deceptively simple. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on it.

    Like

    May 24, 2012
  13. It is definitely a good read !

    Like

    May 25, 2012
  14. Hated it. One of my least favorites that I read for school, and I wasn’t one to dislike a book just because it was required. It may have been hard to appreciate because of my age, but I doubt if I’ll ever give it another chance.

    Like

    May 26, 2012
  15. Ah, I read it for an honors seminar my first year of college and loathed it. The style of writing doesn’t work with me. I should re-read it someday, but I probably will only if it’s assigned again. Good luck.

    Like

    May 28, 2012

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  1. Book #43: Things Fall Apart | 101 Books

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