Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe (1958)


Things Fall Apart is the debut novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, first published in 1958. Its story chronicles pre-colonial life in the southeastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of Europeans during the late 19th century. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, and one of the first to receive global critical acclaim. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and is widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. The novel was first published in the UK in 1962 by William Heinemann Ltd., and became the first work published in Heinemann’s African Writers Series. The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo (‘Ibo’ in the novel) man and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian clan of Umuofia. The work is split into three parts, with the first describing his family, personal history, and the customs and society of the Igbo, and the second and third sections introducing the influence of European colonialism and Christian missionaries on Okonkwo, his family, and the wider Igbo community. Things Fall Apart was followed by a sequel, No Longer at Ease (1960), originally written as the second part of a larger work along with Arrow of God (1964). Achebe states that his two later novels A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987), while not featuring Okonkwo’s descendants, are spiritual successors to the previous novels in chronicling African history. … Things Fall Apart is regarded as a milestone in African literature. It has come to be seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, and is read in Nigeria and throughout Africa. It is studied widely in Europe, India, and North America, where it has spawned numerous secondary and tertiary analytical works. It has achieved similar status and repute in Australia and Oceania. Considered Achebe’s magnum opus, it has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. … Achebe is now considered to be the essential novelist on African identity, nationalism, and decolonization. Achebe’s main focus has been cultural ambiguity and contestation. The complexity of novels such as Things Fall Apart depends on Achebe’s ability to bring competing cultural systems and their languages to the same level of representation, dialogue, and contestation. …”
Wikipedia
Things Fall Apart: Chinua Achebe and the languages of African literature
Slate: The Amazing Story Behind Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
[PDF] Things Fall Apart
amazon

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