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Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy #1)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  199,871 Ratings  ·  9,207 Reviews
THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict betw ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published 2006 by Penguin (first published 1958)
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Virginia Pulver Joshua and Maaya - I read widely and well when I was young and frankly, now that I have had more life experience and education, I find those very same…moreJoshua and Maaya - I read widely and well when I was young and frankly, now that I have had more life experience and education, I find those very same books take on a new depth and power. Books that I simply rolled my eyes at have now become rich, insightful gifts. Persepctive certainly changes as one ages. Perhaps you will grow into this powerful fable about falling from grace. Keep reading, keep growing and enjoying good books. - Ginn, In Sunny SC (less)
Gwen You can read as a single book and be perfectly fine though there are other books that technically make it a series.

Personally I only read the first…more
You can read as a single book and be perfectly fine though there are other books that technically make it a series.

Personally I only read the first book.(less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 06, 2009 Madeline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 22, 2014 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-lit
“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
Skylar Burris
Sep 13, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Bookworm Sean
Mar 08, 2016 Bookworm Sean rated it really liked it
Achebe’s protagonist isn’t a very nice man. In reality he is an asshole. I don’t like him. I don’t think anyone really does. He is ruthless and unsympathetic to his fellow man. He grew up in a warrior’s culture; the only way to be successful was to be completely uncompromising and remorseless. His father was weak and worthless, according to him, so he approached life with an unshakable will to conquer it with his overbearing masculinity.

”When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was h
J.G. Keely
The act of writing is strangely powerful, almost magical: to take ideas and put them into a lasting, physical form that can persist outside of the mind. For a culture without a written tradition, a libraries are not great structures of stone full of objects--instead, stories are curated within flesh, locked up in a cage of bone. To know the story, you must go to the storyteller. In order for that story to persist through time, it must be retold and rememorized by successive generations.

A book, s
فهد الفهد
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
Will Byrnes
Aug 19, 2015 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this classic tale Okonkwo is a strong man in his village, and in his region of nine villages. At age 18 he beat the reigning wrestling champion and has been an industrious worker all his life, a reaction to his lazy, drunkard father. He lives his life within the cultural confines of his limited world, following the laws that govern his society, accepting the religious faith of his surroundings, acting on both, even when those actions would seem, to us in the modern west, an abomination. While ...more
Whitney Atkinson
Sep 07, 2016 Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, for-class
I really enjoyed this book! It was the first book we read in my contemporary world literature class and it stirred some really good discussion. I'm all about any conversation in which I can discuss dismantling the patriarchy, and this book definitely dealt a lot with sexism, which is a topic I find infuriating yet interesting. The writing style was simple and quick to read, and although there wasn't an abundance of imagery, some of the similes/comparisons were really pretty! I thought this was a ...more
M.L. Rudolph
May 09, 2012 M.L. Rudolph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Maybe the best thing about Achebe's, Things Fall Apart, is that it give us a look at African culture from the inside, from their perspective, how they viewed the world around them and their place in it. Most of the African novels I've read give the outside view, the colonial or Christian view, which unfairly judges a people and a culture they couldn't possibly understand.

The story is set in the Nigerian village of Umuofia in the late 1800's. Since their culture is based on history and tradition,
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
Nov 30, 2015 Ahmed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

إفريقيا الجميلة الساحرة المهملة , تلك القارة النابضة بالحياة , المليئة بالأحداث , القارة السمراء منبع الإنسان وأصل حضارته , والمحافظة على عاداتها وتقاليدها بصورة مثيرة للاهتمام , منبع مهم للغاية للإنسان الأصلي , بطبيعته وسليقته المخلوق عليها.

الأدب الإفريقي من أهم الآداب (المهملة) في العالم , لأسباب كثيرة للغاية , فهي قارة لم تتحرر إلا قريبًا فظلت حبيسة الظلم والاحتلال والطغيان , ولكن مجرد أن تطالع نوعية ذلك الأدب تجد فيه سحر خالص.

المهم : نحن أمام رواية نيجيرية (وتجربتي السابقة مع هذا الأدب مثمرة
Anne Collini
“We’re the ones who fuckin’ gave y’all the freedom that you got!”
~ A white woman yelling at a group of African American protesters after the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, last year. *

I hesitated to begin my review with such an ugly quote, but that’s where we’re at now, in the story.

Chinua Achebe’s masterful and hard-hitting novel, Things Fall Apart, takes us back to an earlier chapter, to life in the nine self-governing villages of Umuofia, Nigeria, before the ar
Dec 13, 2011 Praj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2014 booklady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to booklady by: Skylar
"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
Oct 24, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Book-club
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
Feb 21, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There is no story that is not true.”
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart


Achebe's Magnum Opus is one of those 'essential novels' where one can see its greatness while at the same moment understand that part of its strength lies not in anything the novel itself ever does, but in the place the novel holds in time and place. If 'Things Fall Apart' were written 40 years earlier it would have probably been ignored both in Africa and the West.

If it had been written 40 years later, it would have been s
Jul 05, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-novels
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
Ahmed Oraby
Dec 10, 2015 Ahmed Oraby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رواية ليست بالعادية، أبدًا، وعلى الإطلاق.
هي ملحمة إنسانية بحق، بكل ما فيها من صراعات وحروب وإنهيارات، من ازدهار واندحار، من قيام عشائر وقبائل، وانهيار أخرى، بأديان وآلهة تسقط وتموت، وأخرى تقف وتحارب
تاريخ بطل، ممتزج مع تاريخ قبيلة ودولة وأمة، بكل ما فيها من عادات وخرافات وشعوذات وأسحار سوداء، بكل ما تعبق به تلك الحضارة السوداء من أديان وآلهة
قصة حياة بطل، تداعت حياته، كما تداعى عصره وتداعت أسطورته
قصة حياة جميلة تستحق التأمل، ورواية تحمل كل ما في النفس البشرية من آمال وأحلام، وحتى خرافات، تاريخ صرا
.حسناً حسناً تلك قصة مكررة ودامية ايضاً
حينما تتداعى الثقافة والهوية تحت وطأة معول المستعمر.


." الرجل الابيض ذكى جداً , جاء بهدوء و سلام بدينه , فضحكنا على حماقته وسمحنا له بالبقاء , والآن استمال اخواننا , ولم تعد عشيرتنا قادرة على التصرف كرجل واحد ,لقد وضع سكيناً على الاشياء التى تشد أواصرنا فتداعينا "

يالله . اليس هذا ما حصل بالظبط فى كل بلد دخلها الاوروبيون ؟... كم من مجتمعات تداعت حينما وضع الرجل الابيض سكينه على الاشياء التى تشد اواصرها ... ما يجمع امة واحدة ويضمن لها استقرارها ليس الجيش
Nidhi Singh
Mar 18, 2016 Nidhi Singh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, 2015
What Achebe accomplishes with ‘Things Fall Apart’ is exemplary. He renders the ‘wild and passionate uproar’ of the ‘savages’, as described by Marlow, with meaning. He assimilates their rites into the realm of orderly complexity, strong tradition, a vibrant culture which gives a beautiful recognition to humanity’s relationship with nature. He tells us of the unremitting hard work invested by these people in agriculture and their proud self-sufficiency, of the fascinating mix of folklore, dance an ...more
Flesheating D-Ray
Jan 04, 2013 Flesheating D-Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
What do I think about this book? I am even unsure of how many stars to give it! Keep in mind my rating is not a judgment of the book; it reflects merely how I reacted to it.

Here is what I liked:

- The writing. Strong, simple language. Even in all its simplicity the lines read as a prose poem. Beautiful metaphors abound.

- Learning about the Igbo people. We learn of their primitive beliefs, their traditions and social mores. This culture is very similar to the life at Achebe's birthplace, Ogidi,
Dec 28, 2012 طَيْف rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Kee Queen
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
Sep 24, 2014 Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Malak Alrashed
Dec 07, 2014 Malak Alrashed rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
زهراء الموسوي
رواية من طراز آخر، هي أول رواية أقرأها تتناول موضوع المبشرين في أفريقيا والقبائل والعشائر وحياتهم ما قبل وصول المبشرين وآلهتهم المتعددة وتقاليدهم الكثيرة والمتشددة والوحشية وما بعد وصول المبشرين وكيف تعاملوا معهم.
مشوقة إلى حد ما، تستحق القراءة.
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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 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)

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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.” 270 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.” 183 likes
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