Book Review

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a beautiful novel - as an extended metaphor for African despoliation, life and politics it works wonderfully. Beautiful is, perhaps, a strange word to describe this essentially melancholic novel but whilst Things Fall Apart is a sorrowful affair it is never a despondent one. The scenes from the life of Nigeria's Ibo society are painted with an assured, uplifting clarity and they resonate brightly - and long. Okonkwo is an excellent, wonderfully human, central character: strong; headstrong; wilful; proud. A traditionalist, he is acutely aware of the pitfalls of forgetting the past but he is blind to the absurdities, cruelties and sheer backwardness of certain of his tribe's customs and of his own, sometimes outrageous, actions.

Okonkwo can fight with the best of them - indeed his place in his community stems from his physical prowess and his victory in an important wrestling contest when he was still comparatively young - but he can't prevent 'progress'. What he knows (and the reader acutely shares in his knowledge via Achebe's polished, elegant writing) is that Europeans and their impudent monotheism, hubristic imperiousness, their racism and ultimately the sheer violence of their culture and its justice is not in any way 'progress' at all. Achebe shows us Okonkwo's (and Africa's) dilemma: the progress to a capitalist future is no future; the rural isolation and ignorance of his tribe is no longer even a viable present.

-- Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on 18/07/2005

Further Information
ISBN-10: 0141186887
ISBN-13: 9780141186887
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 01/11/2001
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 176

Readers Comments

  1. Oyegun Abimbola Adeola says... Wednesday 20 May 2009

    i love the books so much because it reveal the total history of the African colonisation before the independence and it shows how british people came with their culture and government using christianity to cover up

  2. Rabia Akhtar says... Friday 05 February 2010

    i read "Things fall apart" and found it good!

  3. Faiza abdalla says... Thursday 04 March 2010

    Sure Achebi is one of the African writer who enriches The African library through his talent writings that refects the struggle which our ancients generation gone through to gain freedom for us to live freely. I like his pen so much because it lets me visit ibo society thro' his words

  4. allie kimg says... Monday 19 April 2010

    this book is amazing ... sad & increadable

  5. Liz Keenaghan says... Tuesday 27 July 2010

    I really loved this book. To me it showed us that no matter which culture we're from we are all human, and have the same frailties as each other - and then described the tragic consequences of willful imperialist ignorance of this as a warning to us all.

    In fact I loved it so much I reviewed it!

  6. Lenshie Edward says... Saturday 29 October 2011

    Achebe's fiction "Things Fall Apart", actually present scenario that saw the falling apart of cultural hold on the soicety when the Western colonial forunner - Christianity interrupted the process of socio-cultural independence of an African society and ushered in an era that constantly is in contest with the indigenoius culture and civlization in Nigeria area. At least, they were instrument of guiding against anomie and fundamentalism.

  7. Okoba Oduori says... Wednesday 02 November 2011

    I have read a handful of (frican writers books but non could show case the masculinity and feministic angles like this book its a marvelous book that should not be judged or criticized lightly thank you Achebe

  8. Aminu Suleiman says... Friday 14 November 2014

    Chinua Achebe have made a great work that even today if we read it we would find a new theme in it.He also contributed literary in academic and nonacademic matters.He is a great writer and we love him.

Leave a Comment

If you have not posted a comment on RSB before, it will need to be approved by the Managing Editor. Once you have an approved comment, you are safe to post further comments. We have also introduced a captcha code to prevent spam.




Enter the code shown here:   [captcha]

Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.