Arrow of God
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Arrow of God (The African Trilogy #3)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,772 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Set in the Ibo heartland of eastern Nigeria, one of Africa's best-known writers describes the conflict between old and new in its most poignant aspect: the personal struggle between father and son.
Paperback, 230 pages
Published January 1st 1989 by Anchor Books (first published 1964)
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The Liquidator by Iain ParkeThings Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeLong Walk to Freedom by Nelson MandelaThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Books about AFRICA or by AFRICAN AUTHORS
32nd out of 348 books — 145 voters
Things Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichiePurple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Liquidator by Iain ParkeSo Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ
African Fiction
36th out of 210 books — 195 voters


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Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlotte
Arrow of God (1964)
Chinua Achebe

Last summer I read Things Fall Apart which is the first of a trilogy by C. Achebe. Arrow of God is the third. I literally couldn’t put it down. Again, this is a novel about the struggle between old ways and new; tradition and change. It’s set in the 1920s. Here too a son is ‘sacrificed’ and sent to the White man’s school/church to learn his language and ways.

Arrow of God may essentially be the story of a chief priest, his wives and children and the patterns of ev...more
Madeline
Apr 24, 2010 Madeline rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Madeline by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I had a fiendishly difficult time with this book, which I found odd because Things Fall Apart was like reading water, and even A Man of the People was engaging and straightforward. But although I loved what Achebe did in Arrow of God, I had a really hard time actually reading the damn thing. I'm pretty sure that the fault was with me - I don't know enough about the Igbo, I find proverbs irritating, my brain is lately in other places - because I could sense some of the power of the novel, but was...more
Jack Kruse
I was first struck by how funny this novel was. I guffawed several times while reading it. It takes a remarkable writer to do this with humor, especially across cultures.
I thought this work illustrated well the role of religion in society. For the Igbo there was no separation of religion from society--they were one and the same. It's perhaps fitting that while the administration doesn't quite get this (Clarke doesn't even understand that a Chief Priest is not the same as a medicine man) , the mi...more
Kjew
This book is hard to like at times. Achebe is very unflattering to women.
Larry
The final book in Achebe's African trilogy is the story of Ezeulu, the high priest of his clan, the members of whom live in five villages in Nigeria. Villages and clans have their own self-created gods, who rise and fall over time, depending on the successes or failures of the clan and villages.

Set in an unspecified time, probably early 20th century, Ezeulu is protector of the traditional ways and spirtual life of the villages, as the influence of the British rulers continue to encroach, transf...more
Sidney Davis
This novel gives an African perspective on the colonial imposition of Western culture upon African/Igbo culture and tradition. It is a story that gives voice to the European influence and voice to the African response to it. It is a narrative that shows how this was done and the effects and consequences of the encounter. The characters of the novel are very engaging and come alive from the pen of Achebe. If you liked Things Fall Apart, then you will like the Arrow of God.
Katherine
I've heard that Arrow of God is Achebe's personal favorite out of all of his novels. It's written in a straightforward, parable-like style similar to Things Fall Apart, but delves further into the complex relationships between religion, authority, duty, and conflict.

Arrow of God is also set during a time that British colonizers were beginning to supplant local governments and cultures. Ezeulu, chief Ibo priest of six villages, sends his son to study with the local Christian missionaries - secure...more
Becky
It's about 15 years late, but we just got round to watching the Sopranos after all these years. Bizarrely, this was good companion viewing for reading Arrow of God. In both we have aging Patriarchs coming to terms with their own mortality, while trying to bring up their families traditionally in the face of a rapidly changing world. Tony is head of one of the five families, while Ezuela is the Chief Priest of the Six Villages. People all around them are disregarding their heritage, welcoming the...more
Dewet
Reading this was really hard. There were too many characters and places with really strange/un-pronounceable names.

While I found the use of African proverbs and sayings entertaining and interesting, it was too much, and it had the same effect as following a conversation in gibberish. I did like how this shows the difference between African culture and ways of the English colonizers, but it simply left me confused most of the time
Ahonsi
It was alright. The story-telling could have been better, for I felt that we were introduced to a lot of characters that had zero impact on the telling of the story, so that takes away a lot of the luster. Plus, the conclusion and the way the story wrapped up was just "eh, I read all of this for it to end like this?". I've heard all this regard for Chinua Achebe, but this was a bad introduction to his work.
Sarah
I enjoyed this book more than 'things fall apart'. i'm not that familiar with achebe's writing but it had a magical realism to it that i really enjoyed. it kept you wondering as to what was 'really' going on.
Mariamarta Lee
It has the best quote that shows the difference between translation and interpretation - culturally apprpriate.

I've experienced it through many years of interpreting on the job.
Sarah
قرأت النسخة المترجمة،للهيئة العامة للكتاب،ترجمة : سمير عبدربه،المترجم المعروف بترجمته عن اللغات الافريقية.
Kimmy
I liked this one less than Things Fall Apart and again, I dislike his writing style.
Clay
I know that Achebe can write a good scene but everything about this book was extremely complicated and unclear. So many characters, so many plotlines, so many aspects I simply couldn't understand. I know that writing about colonialism and African culture is important but it should be better structured, more fluently written and there should be a glossary for all the foreign words. Somehow I am sorry for rating it with only one star because it is not stupid... just so hard to understand and in my...more
Libyrinths
Before reading this, I thought I'd like this book more than I did. In this one, Achebe writes of the conflict/confrontation between native Nigerian religion and colonial powers (the British). This book is almost anthropological, which normally is something I enjoy, but it didn't do it for me this time. I think perhaps the characters didn't engage me as much, except for the main character. It was also difficult to keep them straight as there were so many in the village. I didn't ever feel that I...more
Rachel Rueckert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dora Okeyo
I am a fan of Chinua Achebe and this trilogy on life in Africa, pre-during and post colonization has just given me a new persepective on writing and the writer's role. Arrow of God does take us back, into Africa where this priest Ezeulu is trying to merge both modernity and his tradition and so far I think he's got a temper and am still trying to figure out what will happen now that his son Oduche has committed the greatest abomination by trapping a python-which is considered sacred.
Reading Arro...more
wally
i read this in '87, along w/a number of other stories from other countries. stories like petals of blood, too late the phalarope, the beautyful ones are not yet born, mine boy, in the castle of my skin, midnight's children, three or four others.

a year or two prior, i had read/studied karen horney's neurosis and human growth. horney, one of freud's rebellious daughters, (as i late learned when i read/studied another or her works in a different kind of course) seemed to have in mind these stories...more
Sophia
Arrow of God is the final part of Chinua Achebe's Africa trilogy, which began with Things Fall Apart and continued with No Longer at Ease. In this book, we return to the Igbo village setting of the first book, though this time our protagonist is a priest rather than a warrior.


Ezeulu, priest of Ulu the God of six villages, is a wise but proud man. He has a large and prosperous family, and has even sent one of his sons to the local Christian church to be his "eyes and ears" and keep him abreast of...more
Jerry07
I became aware of Chinua Achebe's writings only recently and this was the first book of his I read. Perhaps I should have started with the first of the trilogy (i.e. Things Fall Apart) but so be it - I decided to dive in as I heard this book was well achieved in is view and the view of his peers.
It was an instant like. The tone, the way the story is told and in a very simple way yet, powerful was a breathe and so speaking to me. The characters balance authorities and duties, emotions and persona...more
Jessica
No one could deny that this book is beautifully written, and the story is interesting...but apart from that it did little for me. Perhaps my hopes were too high, perhaps my expectations were different, perhaps I don't know enough about African (Nigerian) culture for it to sit comfortably in context...
I did, however, love the proverbs and colourful language:
"the moon he saw that day was as thin as an orphan fed grudgingly by a cruel foster-mother"
"better to say that...it was no more than the po...more
Isabell
Chinua Achebe delivers another intriguing insight into African culture. This last book in his African trilogy (chronologically it is the second book) details the conflict between the African tribes and the Europeans, who have just arrived to colonize the continent. Not only does this cause problems between the different nationalities, it also causes conflicts within the tribes, who are separated by the desire to uphold their traditions and to cope with the colonization. I enjoyed this opportunit...more
Mena
I think this might be my favourite of all of Achebe's books. It takes the premise of Things Fall Apart - external/internal upheaval threatening an established way of life - to an even deeper, darker place. Ezeulu's personal struggles are elegantly presented and their spiritual aspect dawn on Ezeulu himself at the same time as they do the reader. I also loved that Achebe let loose with the characters a bit - they're a lot rawer than Okonkwo's and his people, IMO.

Also worth considering: http://br...more
Verónica
Das novelas que conforman a triloxía africana, esta é sen dúbida a mellor delas, a que mellor representa a "conversión" do pobo africano á modernidade que vende o home blanco. Ezeule, o sumo sacerdote, representa a transición dolorosa, dalgún modo, a rendición ás imposicións europeas, á invasión cristiana. E como aquí, nas terras que serían Nixeria, noutros lugares. En nome dun deus matan aos demais deuses; en nome dunha modernidade, matan as tradicións polas que se guiaban as rutinas dos pobos....more
Jey
Arrow of God, Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease are books written by the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. All together, the books are called The African Trilogy. Well,honestly, reading Things Fall Apart was waaaay easier and clearer than this novel. Arrow Of God demonstrates the life of post-colonial Nigeria after the settlement of "the white men" i.e British rule. Achebe's style changed drastically and overtly because the sentences were long, condensed , vague and full of Igbo Proverbs.But,...more
Rojo
As much as I enjoyed Things Fall Apart, I did not think that this book was good in comparison. It could be me trying to remember what Things Fall Apart was like (and I read that like...four years ago!) and in the reconstruction of my memory thought it was good, but even still I did not find this book all that stimulating or enjoyable.

First off, and it was probably like this with TFA, but there were too many names to process. I could not tell for the life of me if something was a place or if some...more
Katie Grainger
It is probably my fault but I found some aspects of Arrow of God incredibly difficult to follow. I kept getting names confused, forgetting characters and having to go back to check who was who. In all honesty I could have done with a family tree at the beginning of the book to help me follow the story.

Arrow of God follows the story of Ezeulu a priest of the Ulu who is trying to deal with the fact that his authority is under threat. This is essentially a storyline about colonialism and how it eff...more
Riley Dawson
I liked this better than Things Fall Apart (GASP). The story was more interesting to me, the characters were more relatable (maybe owing to the fact that the storytelling felt more "western" or familiar to me). If I were to recommend one of his books, I'd recommend this one (but I have only read two).
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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...
Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) No Longer at Ease A Man of the People Anthills of the Savannah There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra

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“What kind of power was it if everybody knew that it would never be used? Better to say that it was not there, that it was no more than the power in the anus of the proud dog who tried to put out a furnace with his puny fart.... He turned the yam with a stick.” 4 likes
“villages that their leaders came together to save themselves.” 2 likes
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