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

(The African Trilogy #3)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  5,778 ratings  ·  478 reviews
Set in the Igbo 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.

Ezeulu, the headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. But his authority is increasingly under threat—from rivals within his tribe, fro
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Paperback, 230 pages
Published January 1st 1989 by Anchor Books (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 w…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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Shane
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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Kavita
Once more, Achebe has succeeded in writing a story that had me living in a very different world for a while. Arrow of God is not about the delightful (not!) Okonkwo nor the honest and upright (not!) Obi Okonkwo. Instead, Achebe has told the story of a completely different family, in no way related to the Okonkwos (can we say that?). It is the story of a completely different tribe with different customs and rituals.

Ezeulu is the chief priest of Ulu, a god that binds six villages together. He take
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Sidharth Vardhan
Read it because it was listed as one of Adichie's favourite books.

The story is somewhat like 'Things Fall Apart' in that it narrates a story of the rise and, later, fall of a man due to values changing under a challenge from colonial rule - only this time it was a religious leader, instead of a warrior/farmer.

The reading experience was greatly enhanced from my having read Carl Jung's 'Man and His Symbols'. To begin with, Jung had much to say about the masks and their impact on personality and th
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Madeline
Feb 21, 2010 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
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I found this book to be better than the second one, and a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy overall. As a history nerd, this book was fascinating to me to read about the struggle between the old beliefs vs the new, and how the main character in this book struggles to hold onto his power and beliefs even as forces from outside, and forces from within (even his own family!)

The book was written in 1964 but the story itself is set in the 1920's, where many parts of the world, not just in Nigeria,
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Shuhan Rizwan
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Better than 'Things fall apart' in some aspects. Includes some beautifully crafted passages.
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Charlotte
Jul 08, 2010 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
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Monika
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I submitted and successfully defended my MA dissertation on Wednesday. One of the questions that was asked and that has stayed with me is this - Do you think the British administrators were innocent? I explained how they were not innocent at all. It is only after I have finished reading 'Arrow of God' (1964) by Chinua Achebe that I am realising that the British administrators were not just not innocent because they enforced their rules in a society which has a completely different set of rules: ...more
leynes
It's somehow ironic how Achebe's personal favorite is by far my least favorite book in the trilogy. Arrow of God is definitely the most ambitious of the three, being by far the longest and the one deepest immersed into local culture and religious beliefs.
“I have travelled in Olu and I have travelled in Igbo, and I can tell you that there is no escape from the white man. He has come.”
Personally, I didn't get much out of it. I didn't connect to any of the characters, found the plot incredibly
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Henry Ozogula
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Literature can often puzzle and startle one, including African literature - the way we receive and criticise books. A good example is Ghana's world class writer, Ayi Kwei Armah; the literary world keeps on praising him and his first novel, The beautyful ones are not yet born. Yet Armah was a young man, still developing, when the book came out, and critics did not seem to care about his subsequent, better works over the decades. This seems to be the case too with Achebe, whose first novel, Things
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Jack Kruse
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Ben Dutton
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
BookOfCinz
This year I decided to re-read some of my favorites and what I consider classics. I re-read Things Fall Apart, and in doing so I discovered that this book was a part of a trilogy, of course I had to read the entire series.
Arrow of God felt a bit underwhelming for me, it also felt very repetitive at times. It was as if I was reading a lesser version of Things Fall Apart. I had a hard time remembering the characters or differentiating them.
Overall this book felt very flat for me.
Irene
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the detail about pre-colonial life in rural Nigeria and the perceptive way the author portrays the impact of British presence on a particular community and a few specific leaders in that community.
David
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Power is a fascinating subject. Some aspire it; many chase it; even more succumb to it.

Ulu is the god. Ezeulu is his powerful chief priest in the six villages of Umuaro. The villagers adhere to all the customs the chief priest lays out. His word is power.

When the British need labourers to build a road, the people of Umuaro are forced to assist. They come to odds and one of them is whipped. He is the son of the chief priest. Rumours swell on both sides. The British have power.

Captain Winterbottom
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Blaine DeSantis
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was a real chore for me - I have previously read Things Fall Apart and thought it was wonderful and so when my sons African Literature class was reading this book I decided to read along with the last volume of Achebe's trilogy.
It really is a lot of the same thing - the clash of traditional Nigerian culture with the British Colonial culture. The edition that I read did not have a glossary nor any sort of family charts and so it was extremely difficult to figure out who was who and some
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Apphia Barton
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved Things Fall Apart and I thought I would love this too. Reading Arrow of God felt like trodding an interminable journey. Later on I realised that my peeve was mainly with the format and layout of the copy I used than the content of the novel.

Intriguing message(s) and themes - religion, community, change, leadership, revenge, tradition, familial relationships. Achebe develops characters and unfolds the plot of a story really well but parts of this novel felt disjointed and drawn out.

Also,
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Calzean
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is a forbidding sadness throughout this book. The English are trying to implement their divide and conquer strategy to reinforce their power and control over the locals. Meanwhile Ezeulu the local Chief Priest tries to resist but is also the victim of his own culture and the prejudices between people and villages. There is no surprise as to which side wins.
There was surprisingly a fair bit of humour in this book. As well as some beautiful prose, Igbo stories and beliefs and of course plent
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Kjew
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is hard to like at times. Achebe is very unflattering to women.
Judy
This is the final book in Nigerian author Chinua Achebe's African Trilogy. I have read the first two, Things Fall Apart and No Longer At Ease. All three novels do a remarkable job of showing the culture clash of an indigenous people with their colonial invaders. In fact, Achebe is considered the originator of the genre in Africa.

This one spotlights the religious aspect. Ezeulu is the Chief Priest of Ulu, god of six Ibo villages in Eastern Nigeria in the second decade of the 20th century. The B
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Deogratias Rweyemamu
Chinua Achebe makes us Africans proud.

With limited African literature, and writers to boot, I always relish coming across a good book with African narrative. I believe there are many stories that remain untold from our past since we had limited means to pass on these stories.


Chinua Achebe's book has touched on the culture, customs, beliefs of native Nigerian people and how their stories were intertwined with the arrival of "white men" in early 20th century. On hindsight, some of the customs woul
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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.
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Raphael Mokoena
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this work even more than Achebe's classic, Things fall apart. Here Ezeulu (Chief Priest) is delineated as a really great, though flawed individual. A man of integrity in his own way with intriguing children; against the background of his own indigenous culture. A superb work indeed, with tragic ending...Ezeulu.... ...more
Marc
Another beautiful story by Achebe: just like in 'Things fall apart' he tells this story with care, all details nicely drawn, and that way he forces us in an African mindset. Central in this book is the demise of the priest-chief Ezeulu. The end of the story comes a bit quick, but the short epilogue places the events in a bigger context, that of the advent of the British colonizer, clearly a central theme with Achebe. ...more
Bjorn
Jan 27, 2016 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
Sidney Davis
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jeff
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it
A rich and complex book--less totemic than the great Things Fall Apart, but much more of a deep dive into the psychology of both the colonizer and the colonized. Having read all three of Achebe's so-called African trilogy, I remain most struck by the quiet grace of Achebe's narrative style. Like an Ali rope-dope, Achebe playa things so close to vest only to deliver thundering jabs when least expected. ...more
SpaceBear
Just an arrow in the bow of god.
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Reading 1001: Arrow of God, by Chinua Achebe 1 6 Jul 29, 2019 03:23PM  

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2,885 followers
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
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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)

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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.” 7 likes
“The fly that no one to advise it follows the corpse into the grave.” 5 likes
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