Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Arrow of God” as Want to Read:
Arrow of God
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Arrow of God (The African Trilogy #3)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  2,893 Ratings  ·  217 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
...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Anchor Canada (first published 1964)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Arrow of God, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ben Dutton
Oct 27, 2008 Ben Dutton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlotte
Jan 10, 2011 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookworms
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
Jack Kruse
Sep 16, 2012 Jack Kruse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Madeline
Apr 24, 2010 Madeline rated it liked it  ·  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
Shane
Sep 17, 2016 Shane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book the best among Achebe’s African Trilogy. It’s a novel that chronicles Igbo tribal life in the 1920’s, fracturing under its own human frailties and prejudices, and stoked into decline by the British colonial incursion.

Unlike in Things Fall Apart, there is no glossary of local words and customs, and yet there is a lot of local flavour here: poetry, quotes, customs and festivals described in elaborate detail. I felt as if Achebe was trying to write the African novel in English, un
...more
Ahmed  Elkholy
Jan 23, 2016 Ahmed Elkholy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تانى رواية لى مع كاتب الرائعة "الاشياء تتداعى",تشينوا أتشيبي عنده قدرة على الوصف رهيبه مجرد مبتفتح غلاف رواية أنت تفتح نافذة تنظر به الى أفريقيا ,تفتح باب تعبر به الى نواحى القارة المظلومة,ياخد أتشيبى فى رحله فى قارية من قرى النيجر ,تتعرف على العادات والتقاليد والعقائد تتعرف على الرجل الابيض الذى جاء ليهدم كل شى ء,تعرف أن افريقيا قبل الاستعمار كان بها نظم للحكم وللدين ولتنظيم كل شىء,ثم تتعرف على الكثير من الحكم الافريقية
Kjew
Aug 26, 2008 Kjew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is hard to like at times. Achebe is very unflattering to women.
Alan Chen
I read Things Fall Apart a long time ago, at least a decade, maybe even two. I went back recently and looked at a summary and don't recall any of the details. I do, however, recall a vague fondness that I enjoyed it very much. Lately, I've been reading a lot of Nigerian authors: Adichie, Obioma, Okparanta, Cole, just to name a few. I've been struck by how many more writers from this country has reached recognition in comparison to the rest of Africa. I decided to read Arrow of God because it was ...more
Becky
Apr 30, 2014 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Madi (TheBookNerdDiaries)
Nope. Just nope.

I think I've seen this book regarded as a great work of literature and the author as an amazing one. To both, I STRONGLY disagree.

I hated this book and used an audiobook to make progress and a print copy to track that progress. Using the audiobook was probably the only way I could have ever gotten through this one. It was boring as h-e-double-hockey-sticks. Where was the plot? Where was the action? Characters with substance? Personalities? Yeah, this book ain't got none of that.
...more
Bob
May 14, 2016 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Achebe is clearly established as one of the leading African writers of the 20th century, but his publishers (and heirs) are probably further pleased by his recent spot on the Common Core Standards list of recommended novels for 9th and 10th graders.

His four novels published between 1958 and 1966 are the core of his reputation as a novelist.
Set in the early 1920s, this (his third) book alternates chapters from the point of view of the Igbo villagers and colonial authorities. The British, of whom
...more
Sidney Davis
Jan 30, 2014 Sidney Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: igbonomics
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.
Larry
Jan 17, 2010 Larry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bjorn
Feb 11, 2016 Bjorn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nigeria
Achebe does something very clever here: basically a story about power shifts in 1920s Nigeria with his so-called Western readers in mind, but turning the tables on them, acknowledging the power a storyteller has, leaving concepts unexplained and words untranslated. If Things Fall Apart was the telling of "The so-called savages you so-called civilized already had a civilization, thankyouverymuch", this is the showing, effectively colonizing the English-language novel right back. Unfortunately the ...more
latner3
Jul 21, 2015 latner3 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Afnan Mahmoud
May 03, 2016 Afnan Mahmoud rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
وصف الرواية للعادات والتقاليد كما الأفلام الساذجة , لم أجد أي مختلف عكس ما توقعت , وطريقة السرد مملة جدًا
Joshua Tanner
The novel, Arrow of God, follows a chronological plot that is centered around the well known aspects of African colonization by European countries. A plot revolving around Western influence and how it has impacted the culture of the Africans. From the beginnings of a war to the discontinuation of age old traditions. Controversial topics are not rare at all in this text. Published in 1964, this novel touches on subjects that were very important and extremely gravitational at the time. Choosing to ...more
Andre
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marc Anthony
Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe is the 3rd book in his African Trilogy. Chinua Achebe was raised by a Christian Family in Nigeria and excelled in his studies. He found a passion for writing and focused on Igbo(A Native Eastern Nigerian) culture and how it was influenced by Christianity. Achebe gives the story of these cultures throughout the trilogy.The book is set in the 1920s and located in eastern Nigeria where the Igbo live, a place that the British are set on colonizing. This is a tale about ...more
Juanita
Jan 31, 2016 Juanita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review: Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe.

This is the third book to Chinua Achebe 19s African Trilogy. The book was as interesting as the first two books were. It 19s based on the traditional village culture of the Igbo nation in Western Nigeria, capturing its destruction under British colonial rule. Achebe writes a good story that keeps the reader captivated and interested. The story centers on a tribal elder who embodies the old ways so profoundly that he will be destroyed because of the changes i
...more
Whitney
Sep 25, 2014 Whitney rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, for-school
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....
Martin Boyle
Nov 04, 2015 Martin Boyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
This is the second volume of Achebe, Chinua's African trilogy. I found it a more difficult read than Things Fall Apart.

The story is powerful: again it is about the breakdown of society and traditional values, this time directly related to religion and the loss of faith. The chief priest, the central character, is driven against any rational analysis, to try to lead his people towards certain disaster.

The telling gets a bit muddled and I found some of the symbolism a bit obscure - I nearly rated
...more
James F
Feb 04, 2015 James F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Nihal Vrana
I found it a difficult to read, superficial and rather flat story. The way Umuaru people talk is very tiring or the light Achebe sees them is very unflattering. There are no characters in the book except Ezeulu and he is such an ass on a power trip that it is very hard to care for his perceived struggle. If you are a really message kind of person, you might extract a lot from the book about the tension between traditional and modern; but I felt that things were more at the face value throughout ...more
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.
Ahonsi
May 14, 2009 Ahonsi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Angie
Nov 29, 2014 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Benjamin
Sep 26, 2016 Benjamin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pete Marchetto
Aug 02, 2014 Pete Marchetto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Petals of Blood
  • The Palm-Wine Drinkard & My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
  • Efuru
  • Aké: The Years of Childhood
  • The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
  • Burger's Daughter
  • God's Bits of Wood
  • When Rain Clouds Gather
  • The Joys of Motherhood
  • The Concubine
  • Mine Boy
  • Houseboy
  • The Radiance of the King
  • The Poor Christ of Bomba
  • Changes: A Love Story
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)
  • Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1)
  • No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy, #2)

Share This Book



“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
More quotes…