Saturday, 9 June 2012

Book #54 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart, the title taken as a quote from a Yeats poem is the story of tribesman Okonkwo, a man who has worked hard within his tribe to achieve recognition having suffered the burden of an embarrassing father. A number of unfortunate incidents befall Okonkwo and he is forced into exile. Upon his return white colonialists have come to his village, and nothing will ever be the same again.

A relatively short novel by any standards, Things Fall Apart shows tribal life before European colonisation reflects upon morality, belonging and social standing within different cultural norms to our own. It also shows the beginning of what became the almost total erosion of tribal culture due to Western interference. This gives cause for reflection because whilst the West generally had a negative impact in its dealings with Africa, certain horrible cultural acts based upon superstition such as leaving twins to die of exposure in the forest vanish too.

It reminded me of a somehow reverse Heart Of Darkness, however I did not feel that the ending rang true to Okonkwo's character of spirit.  A good book, and given its brevity worth the time it takes to read it. Part of me would have liked a longer, more detailed novel, which said more and followed history as it had developed over time 7/10

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