Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
Genre: Literature; Classic; Historical Fiction; Africa
Summary: Things Fall Apart centers around a man named Okonkwo as he goes about his life in a small village in Africa.
Review: Things Fall Apart definitely didn’t pull me in from the beginning, and for quite some time, I felt as if I was reading it out of a sense of duty more than anything else. After I got about halfway into it, however, I really began to enjoy the book and found myself thoroughly engrossed in the plot.
Okonkwo, the main character of the novel, was an incredibly angry person, and, at times, it was really difficult to understand where his anger came from. It was even more alarming to see the ways in which that anger manifested itself, as he was prone to rash, violent actions. He was extraordinarily difficult to relate to in this respect, but his anger did not detract from the fact that he was quite a compelling character. In fact, I wanted to read more about him to see if I could understand him better.
This book reminded me very much of a fable, and I thought that style worked exceptionally well here. The most interesting part of this book for me, however, was looking at the culture and religion of the village. It was quite fascinating, yet often very sad to see how problems were dealt with, people interacted, and women’s roles in society. As things began to transform towards the latter part of the book, I found myself making comparisons to how things were in the beginning of the book, and the drastic changes were often quite sad indeed.
Things Fall Apart definitely wasn’t a happy read, but nonetheless, it was incredibly well written. If you’re looking for a book that examines African history, definitely give it a try.
Read-alikes: Aesop’s Fables, Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen, The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver