9781439571545

Things Fall Apart

Achebe, Chinua

ISBN 10: 1439571546 / 1-4395-7154-6
ISBN 13: 9781439571545

Publication Date: 2008

Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.

Review:
One of Chinua Achebe's many achievements in his acclaimed first novel, Things Fall Apart, is his relentlessly unsentimental rendering of Nigerian tribal life before and after the coming of colonialism. First published in 1958, just two years before Nigeria declared independence from Great Britain, the book eschews the obvious temptation of depicting pre-colonial life as a kind of Eden. Instead, Achebe sketches a world in which violence, war, and suffering exist, but are balanced by a strong sense of tradition, ritual, and social coherence. His Ibo protagonist, Okonkwo, is a self-made man. The son of a charming ne'er-do-well, he has worked all his life to overcome his father's weakness and has arrived, finally, at great prosperity and even greater reputation among his fellows in the village of Umuofia. Okonkwo is a champion wrestler, a prosperous farmer, husband to three wives and father to several children. He is also a man who exhibits flaws well-known in Greek tragedy: Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo's fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father. And yet Achebe manages to make this cruel man deeply sympathetic. He is fond of his eldest daughter, and also of Ikemefuna, a young boy sent from another village as compensation for the wrongful death of a young woman from Umuofia. He even begins to feel pride in his eldest son, in whom he has too often seen his own father. Unfortunately, a series of tragic events tests the mettle of this strong man, and it is his fear of weakness that ultimately undoes him.

Achebe does not introduce the theme of colonialism until the last 50 pages or so. By then, Okonkwo has lost everything and been driven into exile. And yet, within the traditions of his culture, he still has hope of redemption. The arrival of missionaries in Umuofia, however, followed by representatives of the colonial government, completely disrupts Ibo culture, and in the chasm between old ways and new, Okonkwo is lost forever. Deceptively simple in its prose, Things Fall Apart packs a powerful punch as Achebe holds up the ruin of one proud man to stand for the destruction of an entire culture. --Alix Wilber

Review

Review:
This is Chinua Achebe's classic novel, with more than two million copies sold since its first U.S. publication in 1969. Combining a richly African story with the author's keen awareness of the qualities common to all humanity, Achebe here shows that he is "gloriously gifted, with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent." -- Nadine Gordimer

From the Publisher

 

Things Fall Apart: Search Results

1.
Things Fall Apart (ISBN: 9781439571545)
Achebe, Chinua
ISBN 10: 1439571546
ISBN 13: 9781439571545
Bookseller: double - B - books (Bristol, AVN, United Kingdom)
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Book Description: The Folio Society, London, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: F. Illustrated by Kareem Ilya (illustrator). Illustrated orange cloth boards, internally clean and bright. A fine copy in a similar slipcase., 8vo 8" - 9" tall, 175 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 14643

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Things Fall Apart (ISBN: 9781439571545)
Achebe, Chinua
ISBN 10: 1439571546
ISBN 13: 9781439571545
Bookseller: Pendleburys - the bookshop in the hills (Llanwrda, DFD, United Kingdom)
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Book Description: Folio Society, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. No Jacket. hardback, 8vo, pictorial orange cloth lettered black to spine, no wrapper issued, a near fine copy in a slightly faded original slipcase, col'd illustrations by Kareem Ilya, 175pp. Bookseller Inventory # 176017

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Things Fall Apart (ISBN: 9781439571545)
Achebe, Chinua
ISBN 10: 1439571546
ISBN 13: 9781439571545
Bookseller: Chaucer Head Bookshop, Stratford on Avon (Stratford-upon-Avon, WAR, United Kingdom)
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Book Description: London The Folio Society, 2008. Hardback, 228mm x 148mm orange cloth boards, black titles, first thus, v prelims, 175+pp. Colour illustrations. Illustrations by Kareem Ilya. Near Fine/NoWrapper. Book is near fine in near fine buff slipcase. FS edition of Achebe's classic African tale first published in 1958. Catalogue: Folio Society. Keywords: Achebe, Africa, Yam. Bookseller Inventory # 8975

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