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Arrow of God (The African Trilogy #3)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,408 ratings  ·  162 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.

The third book in Achebe's "African Trilogy", following Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God is the story of Ezeulu, the chief priest of several villages who wre
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Anchor Canada (first published 1964)
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Lori Interesting depiction of the impact that arrival of Christianity had on the indigenous religion of a fictional African region. The ending leaves you…moreInteresting depiction of the impact that arrival of Christianity had on the indigenous religion of a fictional African region. The ending leaves you wondering if perhaps the message was always One God. (less)
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Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
This book is hard to like at times. Achebe is very unflattering to women.
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.
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
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
Kelsey Hanson
This book carries some of the same themes as Things Fall Apart and No Longer at ease, namely that colonization can lead to the destruction of culture as well as lives. This novel was good, but not as strong as the previous two. The absence of a larger than life character like Okonkwo really slows down the plot. Still, the themes are relevant and the different aspects of tribal culture were really fascinating.
Neil Latner
A powerful and evocative novel.Full of ethnographic richness populated with many proverbs.This is a good read.
"A man who knows his anus is small does not swallow an udala seed." Food for thought.
I actually really did like this book and the writing!

But now I'm stuck writing a paper about it! This might be an all-nighter....
James F
The third book of the African Trilogy, this actually has no direct connection with the first two books, takes place in a different community with different characters, and is set about half way between them in time (in the 1920s). It shows British colonialism at its height, and the attempts of the Igbo to deal with it. While I would not say it is better than the first book, it has more rounded characters; Ezeulu, the hero, is less one sided and more admirable than either Okonkwo, and even the Br ...more
Cărți și călătorii
Cartea scriitorului nigerian este foarte diferită de tot ce am citit eu până acum, pentru că, parcurgând-o, am avut senzația fie că urmăresc un documentar fermecător despre un trib din estul Nigeriei, cu toate ritualurile, credințele, obiceiurile, bucuriile și conflictele lui, fie că sunt un martor mut la viața unui trib și la transformările acestuia sub influența omului alb.

Romanul este centrat pe Ezeulu, Întâiul Preot al tribului Umuaro, ce reunește șase sate sub puterea zeului unic Ulu, precu
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
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.
Arrow of God is a subtle, weighty tale that portrays the dramatic shifts of power that occur during the colonization of West Africa by Great Britain in the 1800s. Achebe reveals to readers a traditional culture that's adjusting to the reality of the European presence in its homeland.

The novel follows Ezeulu, High Priest of the deity Ulu, who is the most important official amongst the leaders of Umuaru, an association of six villages that have banded together for mutual protection. As Ezeulu stru
Pete Marchetto
This, the third of Achebe's African Trilogy, seemed to require more attention than its predecessors. The plot is straightforward, some of the scenes take place from the point of view of Nigeria's colonial administration and those were easy enough to get into, but the tribal scenes needed patience. Patience is rewarded with some wonderful insights into tribal life and the sayings of the Igbo people but, unfortunately, I'd lost a lot of the flavour of the work before I realised that for gulping ra ...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu


Chinua Achebe nu este genul de scriitor care să facă apel la metafore, la figuri stilistice inutile, nu dorește senzibilizarea cititorilor prin tot felul de scamatorii lingvistice. Achebe este un povestitor par excellence, un povestitor care știe cum să-și păstreze cititorul atent și în priză. Personajele sale sunt pline de viață, proiectate cu dragoste, parcă decupate din realitatea imediată a
Margaret Carmel
The final book in Chinua Achebe's Africa trilogy takes place in the 1920s and depicts the affects of a Christian missionary placement has on the Igbo community. The story is about the struggle between the head priest of the village and the messenger from the main Igbo God of Ulu and the encroaching Christian influence on his community. By the end of the story, Christianity has completely taken over and overwhelmed the rich culture of the Igbo people.

Up until the very end I was completely mystif
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.
Arrow of God is one great book. This is my second book of Chinua Achebe and I enjoyed it as much as the first 'things fall apart'. A real classic and African literature by an African author!!!. What i like the most about this book is it brings a village story of the early 1900s into life and puts it in such a way that the story is as captivating as ever. He has this gift of bringing out the characters and painting the content as vivid as yesterday. I loved the tales, metaphors and the general st ...more
Jeanne Halloran
"Arrow of God" is the winner of the New Statesman-Jock Campbell Award and you feel as you are reading this sublime tale of the Ibo Tribe in Africa that you are witnessing the telling of a timeless tale. The destruction of a culture and livelihood of the Ibo people is evident with the coming of westernization to Africa. This is a tale of the high priest, Ezeulu, who with all his wisdom still succumbs to the ravages of time as European rule dominates over his traditional ways. In the end, he blame ...more
قرأت النسخة المترجمة،للهيئة العامة للكتاب،ترجمة : سمير عبدربه،المترجم المعروف بترجمته عن اللغات الافريقية.
I liked this one less than Things Fall Apart and again, I dislike his writing style.
If you want your literature to take you somewhere far away to a different world with a different culture, this is a book for you. Arrow of God (I think) is set in rural Nigeria in the 1920s in a small community where the old traditional way of life continues largely uninterrupted. And it is fascinating, though the names and customs take some getting used to.
The central character is Ezeulu - a proud local priest, very aware of his own importance and his position in his community. A typical Shakes
Samuel Olatunji
Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God depicts the disintegration of an African society. This disintegration provides a crack in the wall that becomes a house for the lizard of foreign religion and culture. There is a conflict between the old and new, between past and present, and between native and foreign; the novel revolves around this conflict.
However, the novel does not just present the tragic fall of a man, who is an arrow of god (or God), it is also the tragic fall of an (or the) African god. It is
Susan from MD
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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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)
  • Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1)
  • No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy, #2)
Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy, #2) 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.” 6 likes
“villages that their leaders came together to save themselves.” 3 likes
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