Thursday, December 31, 2009

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Book 10 of 10 for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge (Nigeria)
Awards: Margaret Wong Memorial Prize; Newsweek Top 100 Books: The Meta-List; TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was first exposed to this book in library school and I was intrigued by the title. Then every time I walked into B&N I noticed that it is on the high school reading lists for this area. So when I saw it on my sister's shelf, I asked to borrow it. It has only taken me a year to read it, but I'm glad I did!

This classic, written in 1958, is about the Igbo tribe in Nigeria during the period of British colonization and the arrival of Christian missionaries. Okonkwo is a local leader who has been successful through his hard work and ingenuity. He has three wives, which shows his status and wealth, and he rules his household with a firm hand, showing very little emotion lest he been seen as weak.

But things do fall apart. Okonkwo's oldest son is not the man he wants him to be.  His favorite daughter is sickly. He makes a horrifying decision at the behest of his tribe. And he spends years in exile over an accident. On top of all that, the white man comes and threatens Okonkwo's way of life and the culture and religious traditions that define him.

This book is incredibly well written. I wish I could study it in a literature class because I know I'm not taking away all the literary gems that are in there. The plot structure is a little loose as the story is more made up of a series of events that have a huge impact on Okonkwo's life. I really was transported away to a different time and place and I think that what I read will stick with me for a long time. But, the book is a tragedy so don't pick it up if you are in the mood for something light. However, I definitely recommend it if you are up for a unique reading experience.

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Source: Borrowed


lilly said...

I am happy to read that you enjoyed this wonderful book so. I actually wrote my Master's thesis on Mr. Achebe's writing including Things Fall Apart. I remember falling under his spell pretty quickly and how it only took me a few minutes to make a decision to study his novels.

bermudaonion said...

I do love books like this but have to be in the right mood to read them. Thanks for your thoughtful review.