Publisher: Anchor Canada (April 21, 2009)
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 historya, 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.
Things Fall Apart is a touching and thought provoking novel by Chinua Achebe, the noted African author who died in the year 2013. The edition of the book that I just read this month is procured after much effort since the book was not available with the publishers, the reason is unknown.
This is one of the books (probably the only one among my recent readings), that made me glued to every page, that I only got up after reading the last line. It’s so different and refreshing to those who are not used to the fine touches of African culture, the ancient rituals and beliefs. It’s so rich in content, fiction and drama. Though it takes you coolly through as if fanned to a nice sleep, you get stunned at sudden turn of events. The first part of the novel tells you about the rise and fall of a strong man ‘Okonkwo’, his tribal life, marriages, valor, victories and strange but shocking blood sacrifices.
The second part shows the devastation of the tribal culture upon invasion by English missionaries. It makes you sit back and think, who is right? We can only lament at the loss of things that fall apart, with a hope that old ways part for a better future for all. A must read.