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Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy #1)

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  165,468 ratings  ·  7,166 reviews
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 Okonk ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 190 pages
Published January 12th 1985 by Fawcett (first published 1958)
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Madeline
How To Criticize Things Fall Apart Without Sounding Like A Racist Imperialist:

1. Focus on the plot and how nothing very interesting really happens. Stress that it was only your opinion that nothing interesting happens, so that everyone realizes that you just can't identify with any of the events described, and this is your fault only.
2. Explain (gently and with examples) that bestowing daddy issues on a flawed protagonist is not a sufficient excuse for all of the character's flaws, and is a dev
...more
Skylar Burris
I read this many years ago as a teenager, before it was as well known as it is today, and then I read it again in college. Readers often expect imperialism to be dealt with in black and white. Either the author desires to see native ways preserved and consequently views any imperial attempts as immoral and threatening, or he's a Kipling-style "white man's burden" devotee who believes non-European cultures ought to be improved by supervision from their European "superiors." Yet Things Fall Apart ...more
Rowena
“The drums were still beating, persistent and unchanging. Their sound was no longer a separate thing from the living village. It was like the pulsation of its heart. It throbbed in the air, in the sunshine, and even in the trees, and filled the village with excitement.” - Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

This is a book of many contrasts; colonialism and traditional culture, animism and Christianity, the masculine and the feminine, and the ignorant and the aware (although who is who depends on who
...more
Kira
Dec 04, 2013 Kira rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Kira by: Somebody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Keely
Like the bloom of critically-successful Native American novels of the late seventies, this book does not come from an alien culture. It does not represent an original or alternative storytelling tradition. This is literature that has already been colonized. It has already moved from the oral to the written. Achebe wrote it in English, and gave it the form of the quintessential Western novel.

I don't mean to say that it fails to represent the African cultural experience, but in Achebe's book, it i
...more
Fahad
الأشياء تتداعى

يبدو أنني لا أتعلم من الدروس!! أجلت الكتابة عن هذا الكتاب كثيراً، انتهيت من قراءته في نوفمبر الماضي، وها قد مرت سبعة أشهر وهو ينتظر على مكتبي بإذعان!! قرأت كثيراً وكتبت كثيراً، ولكنه رغم جماله وقوته بقي مؤجلاً، فقط لأنني ويا للحمق كنت أرغب في أن أكتب عنه أفضل، وهو ليس لوحده في هذا المصير!! هناك كتب أخرى أجلت الكتابة عنها أيضاً، حتى فقدت الرغبة في ذلك وأعدتها إلى مكانها الدافئ في مكتبتي، ولكن قصة أوكونكوو لن تعيش هذا المصير، لن أفقد الرغبة في الكتابة عنها.

أول ما فتنني في رواية غين
...more
M.L. Rudolph
1959. Love it or hate it, Achebe's tale of a flawed tribal patriarch is a powerful and important contribution to twentieth century literature.

Think back to 1959. Liberation from colonial masters had not yet swept the African continent when this book appeared, but the pressures were building. The US civil rights movement had not yet erupted, but the forces were in motion. Communism and capitalism were fighting a pitched battle for control of hearts and minds, for bodies and land, around the world
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I found this a smooth, good read. Absorbing, well-paced, engrossing and not at all long--novella length. Sad to say, I don't as a rule expect good reads in those books upheld as modern classics, but this pulled me in. Someone who saw me reading it told me they found the style "Romper Room" and some reviews seem to echo that. I didn't feel that way. I'd call the style "spare"--which befits a writer who when asked which writers he admired and who influenced him named Hemingway along with Conrad an ...more
booklady
"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” is from Yeats's poem "The Second Coming". Fifty years after Chinua Achebe wrote this deceptively simple Nigerian tragedy, Things Fall Apart has never been out of print. It's hailed as Africa's best known work of literature and I can easily see why.

At the heart of the story is a strong man, Okonkwo, with an overwhelming need to prove himself--to himself and his tribe; he must overcome the bad reputation of his drunkard ne'er-do-well father. Although Oko
...more
Barry Pierce
Y'know when you read a novel that is just so stark and bare and depraved that you know it's going to stay with you for a very long time? Yep, it's happened guys. It's happened. This novel ruined me. Ugh it's so great and so horrible. It's what Yeats would describe as a "terrible beauty". Read it, let it wreck you, and bathe in its importance.
Paul
A real tour de force; but a plain tale simply told. Achebe illustrates and explains rather than judges and provides a moving and very human story of change and disintegration. Set in Nigeria in the nineteenth century it tells the story of Okonkwo and his family and community. He is a man tied to his culture and tradition and fighting to be different to his father. He is strong and proud and unable to show his feelings. His courage and rashness get him into trouble with his community and traditio ...more
Praj
I had said earlier in one of my former reviews, about how if a certain character is not overwhelmed by the plot-theme of a script and stands out on its own potency becoming more memorable than the story itself, the book is worth applauding and so is the author for its creation. When one reads Things Fall Apart, amongst its vast documentary of Igbo culture of the southeastern part of Nigeria; a man named Okonkwo shines not for his tragic fate but for the man he turned out to be due to his wither ...more
Mark
Whenever I buy a book for someone as a gift I always include a bookmark, its one of those things I inherited from my parents. As a result of which, whenever I see some nice or quirky or unusual bookmarks I buy them.

A few years ago I bought about ten long metal markers on which were engraved the 50 books one 'ought to have read'. Looking down the list I saw this one and ticked it off as one I had read, though I didn't remember it very well. Then a few months ago my book-club opted to read it. As
...more
Ekairidium
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a substantial and illuminating piece of African literature written by its author in the English language with the purposes of not only portraying the Nigerian tribal culture through the neutral lenses of one of its native writers, but also to connect with a wider, global audience who very much need a fresh perspective when it comes to how Africans live, worship and govern themselves as families and clans. In this sense, most of the critical acclaim that this ...more
Douglas
This is a powerful and poetic novel. I'm not sure it belongs in a category. It really seems incomparable to anything I've read before.

There were some difficult things. For one, I don't think the sense of place was well established, which is insane when you think that it's often described as a novel about a place (Africa). I know it's Africa, but where in Africa? This was not established. I know the author is Nigerian, so I assumed it was in Nigeria, but this wasn't clear to me in the reading. P
...more
Flesheating D-Ray
This is my new favorite book because within five minutes, a person's reaction will tell me how defensive they are about being considered racist, whether or not they've been accused that minute.
This is an excellent way to identify racists, for fun and profit.

Seriously, covering it in class has been like, "Fielding Racists 101" and "How to Sound Over-Defensive When Talking About How African People Are Actually More Violent, No Totally" class.

One guy actually said there was literally no parallel or
...more
طَيْف
description

أشياء تتداعى...عنوان اختصر فيه "تشنوا أتشيبي" الروائي النيجيري تداعي حياة القبيلة في قرية "أومووفيا" النيجيرية، أمام الرجل الأبيض والذي يمثل الاستعمار البريطاني في نيجيريا في نهايات القرن التاسع عشر.


وصف الكاتب في روايته كل تفاصيل الحياة في القبيلة من خلال قصة "أكونكوو"...والذي تمتع بقوة منحته مكانة في القبيلة عوض من خلالها ضعف والده المبذر والكسول والعاجز عن التفكير في الغد، واستطاع أن يبني شهرة قامت على إنجازات شخصيّة راسخة..رفض التخلي عنها حتى لما كلّف بمرافقة من قتلوا الصبي المحكوم عليه بالم
...more
Deborah
Achebe's acclaimed novel explores what happens when two cultures collide. In this case, western colonialism under the veil of Christianity confronting an animistic tribal system in a rural village in Nigeria. The result is a fascinating exploration of how one man, Okonkwo, who has invested his whole life into attaining a position of authority within the tribe, finds his whole world forever altered and his quest for achievement meaningless in this new Africa.

Okonkwo is not a man who embraces cha
...more
Malak Alrashed
This book absolutely falls under the category of "For Nigerians Only" because the writer takes you to a whole new world, a world of its own customs and cultures, and although I like to read about such things, but here in this book the writer doesn't introduce these customs properly before telling the story. For example: there's something mentioned in the book called The Holy Week which is clearly a sacred time and Nigerians are no longer allowed to fight or argue, but when exactly this week is? ...more
Jane
This has been on my list for a while. I enjoyed the economy of style and Achebe's choice of a decidedly unlikable protagonist, which was brave and made for a powerful rendering of a fascinating period of history. Chinua made a clever decision not to fall prey to the temptation to embrace a phony dichotomy - Africa good - Europe bad. He tells the story of the missionary and colonial movement in Nigeria in an unflinchingly dispassionate way. Okonkwo is an anti-hero, proud, cruel, misanthrope, and ...more
Teresa
"Girando e girando a voltas crescentes
O falcão não escuta o falcoeiro.
Tudo se desmorona, o centro não sustenta.
Mera anarquia avança sobre o mundo."

W. B. Yeats

Um livro, com uma escrita simples e bonita, a contar a vida de um homem que sonha ser grande entre os seus, trabalhando e lutando por esse objectivo, sem nunca se deixar vencer ou desviar do seu caminho.

Okonkwo é um guerreiro de uma aldeia nigeriana, cujo povo vive segundo os costumes ancestrais.
São os deuses, pela voz do Oráculo, que dec
...more
Jon
A completely fascinating book that descibes an African society both before and after the coming of Western European Imperialism. The first part of the book describes daily life in an area of Nigeria during the 19th Century. During this part, the novel focuses on Okonkwo, an ambitious and driven man who hopes to become a powerful person in his clan. Okonkwo is outwardly strong, but inwardly he is consumed by fear. The fear that he will become like his father: lazy, weak, and unable to support his ...more
rachel
I remember this book from high school English as the one my classmates would all pick from selected reading lists because it was short, then whine about that choice a few weeks later because it was "boring."

I'm just going to say it: this book should not be taught in schools.

Not because it's not worthy of being taught, but because the story is "slow," in that there are big stretches where not a lot happens. You don't appreciate idleness as a teenager, in the same way that you don't appreciate r
...more
Mr. Brammer
Feb 03, 2012 Mr. Brammer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
The first three-quarters of Things Fall Apart is immersed in the clan culture of eastern Nigeria (we don't actually learn the specific setting - the events of the novel can presumably be transferred to any sub-Saharan pre- and post-colonial setting). The society that Achebe describes can be brutally violent and superstitious, and the protagonist, or anti-hero, Okonkwo is so single-minded and angry that it's difficult to sympathize with him. I think that Achebe chose to show the clan society with ...more
أسيل

التهاوي والتداعي

حينما تسلب كينونتك وتهتز وتتعرض لعوامل السحق والدونية تتهاوي ذاتك
حينما يحتل وطنك وتسلب ارضك وتمس قيمك ومعتقدات ويتفكك مجتمعك
تتداعى الاشياء المحيطة بك
(( اذا انحاز اخواننا الى جانب الشر فيجب اقتلاعهم ايضاً من الجذور))
صعدنا مع اوكونكو المصارع القوي وتعرفنا على معتقدات وقيم
يوموفيا وتهاوينا معه وهو يسرد تاريخ استعمار بلاده من قبل بريطانيا
وكيف تفككت ذاته واخذ يصارع ويقاوم الاستعمار
وكيف اخذ يتهاوى حنما اعتنق ابنه هذا الدين واخذت الناس تنضم اليه
لم يحتمل اوكونكو فقتل ساعياً وشنق نفسه
لكن
...more
محمد سيد رشوان
لا أدري ماذا أقول..

هل أقول كلام نمطي من نوعية : أن ثمرة الرواية تعريف الشعوب ببعضها وانفتاح الثقافات على بعضها البعض؟

هل أقول أن الرواية من تلك النوعية التي تنعي أزمنة انقضت وأشياء تداعت(كما هو واضح من عنوانها).. وخصوصًا في ظل العولمة التي أسس لها الاستعمار.. والتي استطاعت محو الثقافات.. وإزالة أثر الشعوب.. وحولت الناس لمسوخ حداثية؟

لا أدري مايمكنني قوله..

إلا أن العنوان وحده.. كفيل بشرح الرواية بكاملها..

قراءة هذه الرواية مغامرة عظيمة.. وأعتقد انها مغامرة تستحق أن يخوضها المرء
Diane Librarian
My God, this book is depressing. If you ever need an example of how colonialists and missionaries can destroy a native village, this is Exhibit A. The first part of the book follows Okonkwo, who grows up to be a strong leader in his clan in Nigeria, but several events change his course. The stories are beautifully told and are filled with descriptive imagery, but Okonkwo is such a stubborn man and he bullies everyone around him that it is impossible to like the character. The final part of the b ...more
Anna Pravdica
I do not plan on doing an actual review for this book, but I feel I should comment on the hate for Okonkwo many people have expressed in their reviews. Yes, Okonkwo is, to put it simply, a brute who shows few emotions ranging outside of rage and impatience. He beats his wives and children, is extremely sexist, and has standards and expectations for others and - most especially - himself that are simply ludicrous. But here's what I ask the people who point that out and then use it as a reason to ...more
Robert Beveridge
This is another classic example of "what in the world are you thinking assigning this to high school kids?" It's a pretty durned fine book, and there is much therein upon which to reflect, but I'm guessing the adolescent and recently-postadolescent crowd is going to feel a book like this is being rammed down their throats. And they're probably right.

Thankfully, I'm a year or so too old to have been assigned this in school, and I picked up a copy vaguely remembering classmates below me had had to
...more
Chris
I held the door for the man at college, but I never read his classic novel until I was a teacher. I remember finishing this book and just sobbing on my bed for 15 minutes; if you avoided or hated this in highschool, give it another chance, because it deserves every bit of its reputation.

2-1-8
As of today, I'm teaching it to my Sophomore classes. I think I found it even more tragic the second time through, with Achebe's simple, detached style juxtaposed against the collapse of one mans life and th
...more
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Catching up on Cl...: Things Fall Apart - SPOILERS 34 53 Mar 06, 2015 01:58PM  
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8051
Chinua Achebe was a novelist, poet, professor at Brown University and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature.

Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religion
...more
More about Chinua Achebe...

Other Books in the Series

The African Trilogy (3 books)
  • No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy, #2)
  • Arrow of God (The African Trilogy #3)
No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy, #2) Arrow of God (The African Trilogy #3) A Man of the People Anthills of the Savannah There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra

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“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” 193 likes
“There is no story that is not true, [...] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.” 127 likes
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