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The Moon Also Sets Paperback – Jan 1 1987


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Paperback, Jan 1 1987
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: East African Educational Publishers; Trade PB edition (January 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9966251510
  • ISBN-13: 978-9966251510
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 21.3 x 13.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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For a first author, Osi Ogbu can be considered highly gifted going by the masterful deftness and elegance of his narrative style in this first novel, The Moon Also Sets. The novel tells an ordinary tale of love, campus life, family life and widowhood but places all this in a gender context that is at once familiar for its topicality among the global institutions and unfamiliar for the cultural environment in which it is addressed in this novel. The plot surrounds Mama Oby, a devout catholic and widow, working and negotiating relationships in a strongly patriarchal society. She is confronted with the arduous task of bringing up her children all by herself, while at the same time warding off the distractions posed by tradition as epitomized in Pa Okolo's constant needling. When her first daughter, Oby, got admitted into the University, Mama Oby is again forced to deal with the scars of modernity which University life had left on her daughter.
In a way, the subject of the novel could be viewed in the context of the triangular struggle between Tradition (represented by Pa Okolo), Christianity (represented by Mama Oby), and Modernity (represented by Oby). But this compartmentalization is not clear cut as each of these characters also had allegiance across the board. For instance, Oby was always quick to defend traditional values in her discussions with Chris (the gentle been-to that had a crush on her), while Mama Oby considered it her duty to adhere to a village custom when the elders of Isiakpu ruled that Obeta should be ostracized for committing murder, though it contradicts Christian principles to do so. A better way of viewing the subject of this novel, therefore, would be in the context of the paradoxical challenges facing a society in a state of flux.
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The Moon Also Sets is a very ambitious novel, which captures the conflicts in modern African society. It is a narrative that follows the life of an Igbo Widow, Mama Oby and her daughter, Oby, as they struggle to assert themselves in a confused society unsure of the right social path to thread between tradition, Christianity and modernity. The book paints a vivid picture of the dilemma facing most post-colonial societies, which is that of defining a basis for its development. The traditional development trajectory has been thwarted by Christianity, which came alongside a contradictory modern culture that rejects both tradition and Christianity. People are constantly faced with a situation where actions are evaluated and re-evaluated through the lens of the three different competing value systems. For instance, in the novel, Mama Oby and most Catholics in Isiakpu profess Christianity, but at the same time chose to obey the traditional custom that ostracizes anyone accused of murder who refuses to swear before the village idol, against the direction of the church. Similarly, the Igwe, who carries himself as an exposed modern man, cares very little about both Christianity and traditional values especially when they stand on his way to success, even though he was supposed to be the custodian of the culture in his capacity as the ruler of Isiakpu.
One may be tempted to interpret The Moon Also Sets as merely a study on the gender question or female subjugation, but to do so is to misread and misunderstand it. Surely, the book captures the masculinist ethos of Igbo nay African culture which relegates women's' views to the background, but it is also, a subtle yet powerful reflection on Love, widowhood, extended family system, challenges of adulthood and the cyclical destructiveness of greed.
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The moon also sets is a book about women written by a man. It gives an interesting perspective of the conflict between traditional expectations and modernity.
The book details the experiences of a widow and her daughter in a typical African village and her daughter's experience when she finally gets admitted into a university.
Despite her trials and tribulations, the widow has to take care of her children and sees the education of her children as paramount. She spares no effort in trying to get her daughter into the university as she considers education to be her daughter's passport to a better future than the role society was trying to consign to her.
It is interesting, captivating, and a page turner you would not want to put down and you want to root for the widow and her daughter as they try to surmount all obstacles.
I would recommend this book for any african literature class because it deals with so many more issues than I have written above e.g. the role of the church in the african society, the osu(outcaste) issue and other ancient traditions.
I could not put this book down.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Certainly a captivating read Jan. 22 2003
By Dozie Okpalaobieri - Published on Amazon.com
The moon also sets is a book about women written by a man. It gives an interesting perspective of the conflict between traditional expectations and modernity.
The book details the experiences of a widow and her daughter in a typical African village and her daughter's experience when she finally gets admitted into a university.
Despite her trials and tribulations, the widow has to take care of her children and sees the education of her children as paramount. She spares no effort in trying to get her daughter into the university as she considers education to be her daughter's passport to a better future than the role society was trying to consign to her.
It is interesting, captivating, and a page turner you would not want to put down and you want to root for the widow and her daughter as they try to surmount all obstacles.
I would recommend this book for any african literature class because it deals with so many more issues than I have written above e.g. the role of the church in the african society, the osu(outcaste) issue and other ancient traditions.
I could not put this book down.
Tradition, Modernity, & Christianity: Conflicts & Consensus May 3 2004
By Shelly Ikeme - Published on Amazon.com
For a first author, Osi Ogbu can be considered highly gifted going by the masterful deftness and elegance of his narrative style in this first novel, The Moon Also Sets. The novel tells an ordinary tale of love, campus life, family life and widowhood but places all this in a gender context that is at once familiar for its topicality among the global institutions and unfamiliar for the cultural environment in which it is addressed in this novel. The plot surrounds Mama Oby, a devout catholic and widow, working and negotiating relationships in a strongly patriarchal society. She is confronted with the arduous task of bringing up her children all by herself, while at the same time warding off the distractions posed by tradition as epitomized in Pa Okolo's constant needling. When her first daughter, Oby, got admitted into the University, Mama Oby is again forced to deal with the scars of modernity which University life had left on her daughter.
In a way, the subject of the novel could be viewed in the context of the triangular struggle between Tradition (represented by Pa Okolo), Christianity (represented by Mama Oby), and Modernity (represented by Oby). But this compartmentalization is not clear cut as each of these characters also had allegiance across the board. For instance, Oby was always quick to defend traditional values in her discussions with Chris (the gentle been-to that had a crush on her), while Mama Oby considered it her duty to adhere to a village custom when the elders of Isiakpu ruled that Obeta should be ostracized for committing murder, though it contradicts Christian principles to do so. A better way of viewing the subject of this novel, therefore, would be in the context of the paradoxical challenges facing a society in a state of flux. This is a difficult subject to capture in a novel, but the author did a good job. Writing effortlessly in a language that is at once accessible and rich in Igbo traditional idioms and proverbs, the Author weaves an engaging tale of the complexities associated with social interactions in a seemingly ordinary village life.
There are so many good points to this book but the most important to me is that Osi Ogbu succeeds in creating an intimate and refreshing portrait of the struggles of a woman in African society which compassion fatigue has long led us to stop caring about. If you read only one African Novel this year, let it be The Moon Also Sets.
Review of The Moon Also Sets May 3 2004
By Jekwu Ikeme - Published on Amazon.com
The Moon Also Sets is a very ambitious novel, which captures the conflicts in modern African society. It is a narrative that follows the life of an Igbo Widow, Mama Oby and her daughter, Oby, as they struggle to assert themselves in a confused society unsure of the right social path to thread between tradition, Christianity and modernity. The book paints a vivid picture of the dilemma facing most post-colonial societies, which is that of defining a basis for its development. The traditional development trajectory has been thwarted by Christianity, which came alongside a contradictory modern culture that rejects both tradition and Christianity. People are constantly faced with a situation where actions are evaluated and re-evaluated through the lens of the three different competing value systems. For instance, in the novel, Mama Oby and most Catholics in Isiakpu profess Christianity, but at the same time chose to obey the traditional custom that ostracizes anyone accused of murder who refuses to swear before the village idol, against the direction of the church. Similarly, the Igwe, who carries himself as an exposed modern man, cares very little about both Christianity and traditional values especially when they stand on his way to success, even though he was supposed to be the custodian of the culture in his capacity as the ruler of Isiakpu.
One may be tempted to interpret The Moon Also Sets as merely a study on the gender question or female subjugation, but to do so is to misread and misunderstand it. Surely, the book captures the masculinist ethos of Igbo nay African culture which relegates women's' views to the background, but it is also, a subtle yet powerful reflection on Love, widowhood, extended family system, challenges of adulthood and the cyclical destructiveness of greed. Pa Okolo's selfish calculations dressed up as protection of family interests finally went burst when the resilience of Oby threatened to expose the evil designs behind the burning of her Mother's shop and this led him to commit suicide.
There are many ways in which one can see Achebe's influence in this novel. For instance, part of the pleasure one gets in reading Osi Ogbu, lies in his rendering of Igbo language-processes -- idioms, imagery, syntax and so forth --into English. The characters speak in a manner any Igbo or allied language-speaker would easily recognize as natural to them. The author neither rudely shocks nor seriously wounds the basic English sentence-pattern or sentence-structure, but at the same time he does not reduce the fundamental Igbo language idiom, sound and flow, to obscurity. Also, just like Achebe, one notices the Author's style of interposing Western linguistic forms and literary traditions with Igbo words and phrases, proverbs, fables, tales, and other elements of African oral and communal storytelling traditions which is gaining popularity among the new generation of identity-conscious African writers who strive to record and preserve African oral traditions as well as subvert the domination of the colonialist language style and culture.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to more novels from the author. For anyone who wants a firsthand appreciation of the struggles in a changing society, The Moon Also Sets is a very useful starting point and one which will remain relevant for years to come. I recommend it without reservation.
A new age in African writing Aug. 2 2003
By Dozie Okpalaobieri - Published on Amazon.com
The moon also sets is a book about women written by a man. It gives an interesting perspective of the conflict between traditional expectations and modernity.
The book details the experiences of a widow and her daughter in a typical African village and her daughter's experience when she finally gets admitted into a university.
Despite her trials and tribulations, the widow has to take care of her children and sees the education of her children as paramount. She spares no effort in trying to get her daughter into the university as she considers education to be her daughter's passport to a better future than the role society was trying to consign to her.
It is interesting, captivating, and a page turner you would not want to put down and you want to root for the widow and her daughter as they try to surmount all obstacles.
I would recommend this book for any african literature class because it deals with so many more issues than I have written above e.g. the role of the church in the african society, the osu(outcaste) issue and other ancient traditions.
I could not put this book down.
triumph of the spirit of Igbo womanhood April 4 2003
By charles ugwu-oju - Published on Amazon.com
The Moon also Sets brilliantly captures the conflict within the conflict of African womanhood. The story, on one hand, portrays the struggles of Obiageli and her mother, and on the other hand, the insurmountable difficulties masked in tradition, religion, and outright evilness that undermine their efforts.
The story of Oby's determination is familiar, especially to many of us who not only grew up in the same geographical region, but lived in a household ruled by a widowed mother. Like Oby's mother, my own mother who toiled endlessly was fully and sometimes "blindly" devoted to her Catholic church and was incapable of seeing some of its abuses and indiscretions. Also like Mama Oby, my own mother had to defer to our male relatives in important matters concerning her children's existence.
The Moon also Sets perfectly captures the dilemma between power and powerlessness, between knowing and un-knowing, and between the modern and the traditional, all brilliantly woven together. The author relies on his lived experience as an Igbo man as well as a complete understanding of the tenets of the culture -- the relationship between men and women; the difficult choices that widowed women must make to preserve some self-respect and retain the freedom to raise their children. It also brings in the rich culture, the extended family structure, and in the very end, the triumph of good over evil.
This is a book for anyone who wants some understanding of the contemporary issues facing today's African woman, and the duality of women's lives. It shows that while a great number of women have made significant strides in many spheres of life, there hasn't been any shifts in the Igbo culture's construction of womanhood. A woman is a woman is a woman.
Bravo to the author for this brilliant work.

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