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Things Fall Apart [Paperback]

Chinua Achebe
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Awakening Dec 20 2005
Okonkwo epitomized a die-hard African traditionalist with a firm conviction in the destiny of his people, yet a man who failed to accept the inevitable changes in his world. Things fall apart exposes us to the culture of the Ibo people of Nigeria and brings out the characters to the understandable to the reader. In our own little ways, we are like Okonkwo, caught in a world where we have little influence. The lesson is that No matter how powerful we are, we should not impose our wills on others, especially a will that reflects our egos and not the interest of humanity. Clash of cultures is what this book tells us about. Just as in THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES, OLD MAN AND THE MEDAL,TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS,NO LONGER AT EASE,one gets a better idea of what Africans and other native peoples went through after being left with no choice but to accept the values and laws of the foreign powers that came into their lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic story Feb. 22 2006
This was one of the first books in African literature that I read and I was not disappointed. It is amazing. The larger than life character of Okonkwo is reduced to disillusioned man because he could not adapt to the changing times. The big lesson is that we should never attempt to have control of everything beyond ourselves.DISGRACE, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE are fine and hilarious books to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly written classic Oct. 7 2013
By Arin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great read. Takes the reader off of the space and troubles of the western world and shows how life is in a culture and environment totally unknown. The writing aside, I really like the quality of this paperback and advise anyone to have this in their collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish there were more like this Sept. 25 2010
By Bryden
An excellently written novel that shows a way of life that I otherwise would have been very ignorant of. I hope to read more like this in the future. I couldn't put it down and read it in 3 sittings. Achebe is a genius at giving the tribal perspective yet somehow delicately showing it's flaws, while at the same time showing the European missionaries in a similar light. This balance in perspective was, I think, perfect.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heinemann edition doesn't add much to the novel April 15 2004
By A Customer
While the story of Okonkwo is a powerful one, and reading "Things Fall Apart" certainly enlarged my perspective, Achebe's writing style is poor indeed. He must have assumed an audience of dumb white people who needed to have things explained to them to such an extent that they needed to be hit over the head with it. Achebe writes in the opening lines of the novel that "proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten." It's too bad he didn't write more in this manner for the extent of the novel. As a result, we are subjected to such wasted sentences as, "Unoka was a failure" and "Okonkwo was choked with hate." Obviously, Achebe never learned the adage, "Show, don't tell." The only reason he can get away with this style of writing, I imagine, is that there is such a dearth of African literature to begin with. He pales miserably in comparison with the writer whom he loathes, Joseph Conrad.
This Heinemann edition adds little to the text. The so-called glossary explains to you that a harmattan is "a cold, dry wind that blows from the North," even though the text reads that a "cold and dry harmattan wind was blowing down from the north." Gee, that's a helpful gloss, not to mention the poor editing that capitalizes the N in the glossary but not in the text. Much more valuable than useless definitions such as these would have been a guide to pronunciation and the meanings of the names, such as those provided in Austin Shelton's Modern Language Quarterly essay, "The 'Palm-Oil' of Language: Proverbs in Chinua Achebe's Novels."
The Suggestions for Further Reading includes only one reference to criticism, C. L. Innes' and Bernth Lindors' "Critical Perspectives on Chinua Achebe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Read Dec 1 2007
Native of Nigeria, Africa, Chinua Achebe wrote his own masterpiece fictional novel entitled "Things Fall Apart," which took place in his own country during the 19th century. Achebe has used his own background of an African village to create an interesting story that gives unique perspective of the African life and culture. The book is broken into three parts which describe the main character, Okonkwo, and the lifestyle in his village, the arrival of the missionaries and their actions toward the villagers, and the last year of Okonkwo's life.

The first part of "Things Fall Apart" expresses the lifestyle of the African culture in the village of Umuofia where the main character, Okonkwo, had lived. This first part consists of thirteen chapters that reveal the life in Umuofia, the wives and children of Okonkwo, the life and death of Ikemefuna, and the beginning of Okonkwo's exile. The second part of this book focuses on the life of the exile in Mbanta, the village of Okonkwo's mother. It consists of six chapters which reveal Okonkwo and his family living with his mother's kinsmen in Mbanta, the visits from Obierika, the arrival of the missionaries, the conversion of Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, and the last year of Okonkwo's exile. The final part of the novel expresses the actions of the missionaries, the return of Okonkwo to Umuofia, and the death of Okonkwo. It consists of six chapters that reveal Okonkwo's attempts to urge the villagers to fight against the missionaries after his return, Mr. James' attempt to change the belief of the villagers, and a certain death of the villager.

There is great deal of symbolism and meanings being expressed from this unique novel, and it also expresses a fascinating perspective about African life and the impact of cultural imperialism in "Things Fall Apart."

The novel is quite enjoyable to read and gives one a food for thought.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful
I loved this book. Achebe's style of writing reminds me a lot of Maya Angelou's, it's so simple yet very eloquent and moving. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2009 by A. Regis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Awakening
Okonkwo epitomized a die-hard African traditionalist with a firm conviction in the destiny of his people, yet a man who failed to accept the inevitable changes in his world. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2005 by "sancho_111"
4.0 out of 5 stars Starts a Little Slow
This book was a required reading for one of my college history classes. It does start a little slow, but once it picks up, it is almost impossible to put down. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2003 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting peek into African colonialization
This is no guilty account of colonialization as written by an anglo author; this is the genuine article as written by a Nigerian native who's father was a converted... Read more
Published on June 5 2002 by Curtis Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars A "classic" that really is
A thousand people have said this before me, but THINGS FALL APART is truly a wonderful piece of fiction. Read more
Published on April 16 2002 by Amazonbombshell
5.0 out of 5 stars ...some powerful ish...
...i'm jus no good at pickin up a 'simple' read...
i seem to thrive on difficulty...and this book was certainly difficult! Read more
Published on April 14 2002 by R. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Achebe's Presentation
Things Fall Apart is the first of the four African novels that I've read, and it struck me as a wonderful novel, concentrating more on the society more than character. Read more
Published on April 14 2002 by Jiniwin
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