Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

Original title:
Things Fall Apart
September 1st 1994 by Anchor Books (first published 1958)
ISBN 0385474547 (ISBN13: 9780385474542)

In 1958 Chinua Ahebe wrote “ Things Fall Apart” and it was one of the few African novels written in English language originally. During his childhood, Chinua was exposed to both Christian and native African values and culture, which allowed the author to relay the story of this nation in a manner that is particularly interesting and easy to understand for the western world. 

The protagonist of the story, Okonkwo, lives in Nigeria, in a small Umufia village. He is a representative and a leader of Ogbo culture that will be influenced greatly by the British colonialism. His strength and high position within the community is highlighted by numerous wrestling competition victories. 

At the same time the reader gets to meet Okonkwo's father, who is a weak man of no aspirations. He is poor, drinks a lot and spends his time socializing with friends instead of working. The author shows how the Igbo community considered him a shame. 

Okonkwo is nothing like his idle father, yet in trying to prove himself better, he falls for the violent and dominant ways with his own family. In trying not to look weak, he oversteps the boundaries and this puts him into a deep depression. 

Throughout the book the reader discovers the rich culture and traditions of the Eastern Nigeria. How the villages offer kids to another village in order to avoid war, the disputes are solved by the village commons called egwugwu, the animals of those who broke the law must be killed to get rid of the sin. There are also multiple wives, Weeks of Peace, Feasts of the New Yam, Earth goddesses and many other typical African traditions. 

Often called to be the book of a lifetime, it is one of the first African novels to be widely acclaimed around the world. The story of a person's life is intermingled with the process of white men bringing new laws, technology, church and rules to the land that is about to go through a fierce battle for its identity.

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