Laurie's Reviews > Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
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May 29, 15

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, race-racism, classics, classism, families, fiction
Recommended to Laurie by: Simon's Rock College of Bard
Read in May, 2014 , read count: 6-8

I am amused by those who dislike this book because "nothing happens" or "it doesn't seem to be going anywhere" or because the protagonist does not meet their expectations. They are perhaps unaware of how insidious western narrative plot structure is in our culture, and how when they come upon a book that doesn't follow that standard they dismiss it as unsatisfactory without considering that their perspective may be biased and/or narrow.

This book is genius. No, I don't particularly like the plot, or the protagonist, really. Okonkwo is an arrogant misogynist (redundant, I know) with debilitating insecurities. But structurally the book is flawless and stunning. The evolution of the Igbo tribe's situation, as symbolized by Okonkwo, is mirrored in the book's structure, which begins as a testament to a rich and varied culture and ends with that culture being relegated to a mere paragraph in the District Commissioner's upcoming book.

I've taught this book every year for the past eight years or so, and each time I reread it I make new discoveries that stun me and that increase my admiration for Chinua Achebe. The first time I read it I was confused, annoyed, and rather stunned. Since then, it has opened itself to me and shown me its myriad secrets, and I'm so thankful I didn't dismiss it out of hand due to my ignorance after that first read.
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Reading Progress

04/23/2012 page 75
36.0%
04/28/2013 marked as: currently-reading
05/29/2013 marked as: read
05/14/2015 marked as: currently-reading
05/29/2015 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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richard Great review! I came to this book after reading Chigoze Obioma's brilliant and compelling "The Fishermen," which the NYTimes called "the heir to Achebe." Now I see why Achebe is the "father of African literature." I love both books greatly--masterpieces of African literature. Highly recommended.


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