Things Fall Apart
By Chinua Achebe
(Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780679446231, 216pp.)
Publication Date: October 17, 1995
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.
Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. His first novel, Things Falls Apart, became a classic of international literature and required reading for students worldwide. He also authored four subsequent novels, two short-story collections, and numerous other books. He was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and, for over 15 years, was the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. In 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement. He died in 2013.
Chinua Achebe, widely considered the grandfather of modern African literature, has died at the age of 82. His popular book, Things Fall Apart, tackled the effect of colonialism on Africa, and has sold more than 10 million copies. Host Michel Martin is joined by NPR Africa Correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton to look back on his life and work. More at NPR.org
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“Things Fall Apart may well be Africa's best loved novel. . . . For so many readers around the world, it is Chinua Achebe who opened up the magic casements of African fiction.”
—Kwame Anthony Appiah
“Achebe is gloriously gifted with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent.”
—Nadine Gordimer, The New York Times Book Review
"A vivid imagination illuminates every page. . . . This novel genuinely succeeds in penetrating tribal life from the inside."
—Times Literary Supplement
“As old as the novel is, Things Fall Apart by Professor Chinua Achebe, is one book that has captured the heart of most intellects and readers across the world. It is probably one of the books that will live forever going by the calibers of people in the world that testify to its originality. . . . Achebe’s wise and subtle story-telling cuts to the heart of these tribal people with humanity, warmth and humour.”
—Daily Independent (Nigeria)