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Things Fall Apart

(The African Trilogy #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  246,525 ratings  ·  11,818 reviews
More than two million copies of Things Fall Apart have been sold in the United States since it was first published here in 1959. Worldwide, there are eight million copies in print in fifty different languages. This is Chinua Achebe's masterpiece and it is often compared to the great Greek tragedies, and currently sells more than one hundred thousand copies a year in the Un ...more
Paperback, First Anchor Books Edition (U.S.), 209 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Anchor Books (first published 1958)
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Cynthia What do you think is a major commodity of whatever culture you live in that others might find uninteresting or not fully understand why it is…moreWhat do you think is a major commodity of whatever culture you live in that others might find uninteresting or not fully understand why it is important to you? What else about the book can you relate to? It might be useful to consider those and then find a way to understand the culture in relation to those aspects that you do find familiar, such as family relations (the alienation of son and father), women's roles (very circumscribed), the idea of disappointment in one's life expectations (for females and males), feeling the need to do something different than (and be someone different from) one's parents, points where education and culture clash, and so on. I had some trouble with reading this the way I read fiction about and from my culture, but I realized that is one way in which cultures clash--not understanding that we communicate in different ways (I discuss this more in my review of the book).(less)
Virginia Pulver Joshua and Maaya - I read widely and well when I was young and frankly, now that I have had more life experience and education, I find those very same…moreJoshua and Maaya - I read widely and well when I was young and frankly, now that I have had more life experience and education, I find those very same books take on a new depth and power. Books that I simply rolled my eyes at have now become rich, insightful gifts. Persepctive certainly changes as one ages. Perhaps you will grow into this powerful fable about falling from grace. Keep reading, keep growing and enjoying good books. - Ginn, In Sunny SC (less)
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3.64  · 
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 ·  246,525 ratings  ·  11,818 reviews

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Apr 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
How To Criticize Things Fall Apart Without Sounding Like A Racist Imperialist:

1. Focus on the plot and how nothing very interesting really happens. Stress that it was only your opinion that nothing interesting happens, so that everyone realizes that you just can't identify with any of the events described, and this is your fault only.
2. Explain (gently and with examples) that bestowing daddy issues on a flawed protagonist is not a sufficient excuse for all of the character's flaws, and is a dev
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-lit
“The drums were still beating, persistent and unchanging. Their sound was no longer a separate thing from the living village. It was like the pulsation of its heart. It throbbed in the air, in the sunshine, and even in the trees, and filled the village with excitement.” - Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

This is a book of many contrasts; colonialism and traditional culture, animism and Christianity, the masculine and the feminine, and the ignorant and the aware (although who is who depends on who
Skylar Burris
Dec 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
This review is now on my blog:
My son and I had a long talk about this novel the other day, after he finished reading it for an English class.

Over the course of the study unit, we had been talking about Chinua Achebe's fabulous juxtaposition of different layers of society, both within Okonkwo's tribe, and within the colonialist community. We had been reflecting on aspects of the tribe that we found hard to understand, being foreign and against certain human rights we take for granted, most notably parts of the strict hierarc
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Achebe’s protagonist isn’t a very nice man. In reality he is an asshole. I don’t like him. I don’t think anyone really does. He is ruthless and unsympathetic to his fellow man. He grew up in a warrior’s culture; the only way to be successful was to be completely uncompromising and remorseless. His father was weak and worthless, according to him, so he approached life with an unshakable will to conquer it with his overbearing masculinity.

”When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was h
J.G. Keely
The act of writing is strangely powerful, almost magical: to take ideas and put them into a lasting, physical form that can persist outside of the mind. For a culture without a written tradition, a libraries are not great structures of stone full of objects--instead, stories are curated within flesh, locked up in a cage of bone. To know the story, you must go to the storyteller. In order for that story to persist through time, it must be retold and rememorized by successive generations.

A book, s
فهد الفهد
الأشياء تتداعى

يبدو أنني لا أتعلم من الدروس!! أجلت الكتابة عن هذا الكتاب كثيراً، انتهيت من قراءته في نوفمبر الماضي، وها قد مرت سبعة أشهر وهو ينتظر على مكتبي بإذعان!! قرأت كثيراً وكتبت كثيراً، ولكنه رغم جماله وقوته بقي مؤجلاً، فقط لأنني ويا للحمق كنت أرغب في أن أكتب عنه أفضل، وهو ليس لوحده في هذا المصير!! هناك كتب أخرى أجلت الكتابة عنها أيضاً، حتى فقدت الرغبة في ذلك وأعدتها إلى مكانها الدافئ في مكتبتي، ولكن قصة أوكونكوو لن تعيش هذا المصير، لن أفقد الرغبة في الكتابة عنها.

أول ما فتنني في رواية غين
Will Byrnes
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
In this classic tale Okonkwo is a strong man in his village, and in his region of nine villages. At age 18 he beat the reigning wrestling champion and has been an industrious worker all his life, a reaction to his lazy, drunkard father. He lives his life within the cultural confines of his limited world, following the laws that govern his society, accepting the religious faith of his surroundings, acting on both, even when those actions would seem, to us in the modern west, an abomination. While ...more
Barry Pierce
Y'know when you read a novel that is just so stark and bare and depraved that you know it's going to stay with you for a very long time? Yep, it's happened guys. It's happened. This novel ruined me. Ugh it's so great and so horrible. It's what Yeats would describe as a "terrible beauty". Read it, let it wreck you, and bathe in its importance.
Mohammed  Ali
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
إذا كنت تبحث عن رواية مليئة بالأحداث، عامرة بالإثارة، يتصاعد فيها نسق التشويق والحماس بمرور الصفحات .. فدعني أخبرك بأنّك لست في المكان المناسب.
إذا كنت تبحث عن رواية خيالية، تأخذك إلى عوالم غريبة، صفتها الخيال ولونها الإبتكار .. فدعني أخبرك بأنّ بحثك هنا لا طائل منه.
إذا كنت تبحث عن رواية دوستويفسكية الروح، تغوص في النفس البشرية وتحللها، مليئة بالإقتباسات العظيمة .. فدعني أخبرك بأن رجاء لا تضيع وقتك هنا.
أما إذا كنت تبحث عن رحلة ساحرة في قارة ساحرة، تتنوع فيها الثقافات وتختلف باختلاف طبيعتها الفريد
M.L. Rudolph
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
1959. Love it or hate it, Achebe's tale of a flawed tribal patriarch is a powerful and important contribution to twentieth century literature.

Think back to 1959. Liberation from colonial masters had not yet swept the African continent when this book appeared, but the pressures were building. The US civil rights movement had not yet erupted, but the forces were in motion. Communism and capitalism were fighting a pitched battle for control of hearts and minds, for bodies and land, around the world
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african-novels
A real tour de force; but a plain tale simply told. Achebe illustrates and explains rather than judges and provides a moving and very human story of change and disintegration. Set in Nigeria in the nineteenth century it tells the story of Okonkwo and his family and community. He is a man tied to his culture and tradition and fighting to be different to his father. He is strong and proud and unable to show his feelings. His courage and rashness get him into trouble with his community and traditio ...more
Maybe the best thing about Achebe's, Things Fall Apart, is that it give us a look at African culture from the inside, from their perspective, how they viewed the world around them and their place in it. Most of the African novels I've read give the outside view, the colonial or Christian view, which unfairly judges a people and a culture they couldn't possibly understand.

The story is set in the Nigerian village of Umuofia in the late 1800's. Since their culture is based on history and tradition,
Sherif Metwaly
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

أفريقيا الساحرة

القارة السمراء ، المهضوم حقها فنياً وأدبياً
يخرج منها عمل أدبى من أجمل ماقرأت

لعل أجمل ما ميّز نجيب محفوظ ، وجعله على قمة الكُتّاب المصريين والعرب أجمعين، وجعله واحد من أعلام الكتابة فى العالم ،
هو قدرته الساحرة على رسم صورة المجتمع المصرى والحارة المصرية بكل تفاصيلها
وهذا مافعله الكاتب هنا
الكاتب نجح ببراعة فى استغلال موهبته الأدبية لرسم صورة كاملة للحياة فى أفريقيا وبالتحديد فى نيجيريا .
فيتخذ من قرية " أوموفيا " نموذجاً يوضح من خلاله الإطار العام للحياة فى ظلال هذا المجتمع تما
Whitney Atkinson
I really enjoyed this book! It was the first book we read in my contemporary world literature class and it stirred some really good discussion. I'm all about any conversation in which I can discuss dismantling the patriarchy, and this book definitely dealt a lot with sexism, which is a topic I find infuriating yet interesting. The writing style was simple and quick to read, and although there wasn't an abundance of imagery, some of the similes/comparisons were really pretty! I thought this was a ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Achebe's classic is a quick and interesting read albeit with a depressingly realistic end. My curiosity will most likely lead me to more of his work and I enjoyed the narrative style. The ambiguities of cultural clash with an obvious misbalance of power and the two different kinda of brutality in the conflict were thought-provoking and painful to read because they were surely even worse in real life.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I wondered for a while why this book felt more like a fieldwork than a guided mind tour, but the answer is obvious. It lays in the fact that the novel has little of that character building I'm used from reading mainly Western literature. The surroundings are not put in the background to serve only as a reflection of one's thought process, but form an organism of its own. Here, in the middle of an African village on the verge of white people's arrival, the rhythm of living is dictated by weather, ...more
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

إفريقيا الجميلة الساحرة المهملة , تلك القارة النابضة بالحياة , المليئة بالأحداث , القارة السمراء منبع الإنسان وأصل حضارته , والمحافظة على عاداتها وتقاليدها بصورة مثيرة للاهتمام , منبع مهم للغاية للإنسان الأصلي , بطبيعته وسليقته المخلوق عليها.

الأدب الإفريقي من أهم الآداب (المهملة) في العالم , لأسباب كثيرة للغاية , فهي قارة لم تتحرر إلا قريبًا فظلت حبيسة الظلم والاحتلال والطغيان , ولكن مجرد أن تطالع نوعية ذلك الأدب تجد فيه سحر خالص.

المهم : نحن أمام رواية نيجيرية (وتجربتي السابقة مع هذا الأدب مثمرة
4 Stars from what I remembered from reading this in high school
3 Stars from rereading it now

This book is a classic that is on a lot of required reading lists. I can understand that as it gives a fictional glimpse into the Westernization of Africa. A topic like this is very heavy, controversial, and important – because of this, a tale in this genre is going to have a big impact and will easily make its way to must read status.

When I read it in high school, I think I enjoyed it more than now becau
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I found this a smooth, good read. Absorbing, well-paced, engrossing and not at all long--novella length. Sad to say, I don't as a rule expect good reads in those books upheld as modern classics, but this pulled me in. Someone who saw me reading it told me they found the style "Romper Room" and some reviews seem to echo that. I didn't feel that way. I'd call the style "spare"--which befits a writer who when asked which writers he admired and who influenced him named Hemingway along with Conrad an ...more
Elyse Walters
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I 'finally' read this book - the 50th Anniversary Edition- THANK YOU for the book Loretta!!! I'm sorry it took me so long to read it!!!!
Interesting timing for me, too, having just read "NW" by Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- and a couple of
James Baldwin books recently---plus, yesterday was Martin Luther King's day.
African identity, nationalism, decolonization, racism, sexism, competing cultural systems, languages -and dialogue, social political issues have been in my space!!

I didn't kn
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
“There is no story that is not true.”
― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart


Achebe's Magnum Opus is one of those 'essential novels' where one can see its greatness while at the same moment understand that part of its strength lies not in anything the novel itself ever does, but in the place the novel holds in time and place. If 'Things Fall Apart' were written 40 years earlier it would have probably been ignored both in Africa and the West.

If it had been written 40 years later, it would have been s
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I had said earlier in one of my former reviews, about how if a certain character is not overwhelmed by the plot-theme of a script and stands out on its own potency becoming more memorable than the story itself, the book is worth applauding and so is the author for its creation. When one reads Things Fall Apart, amongst its vast documentary of Igbo culture of the southeastern part of Nigeria; a man named Okonkwo shines not for his tragic fate but for the man he turned out to be due to his wither ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
472. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. Published in 1958, its story chronicles the pre-colonial life in Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, one of the first to receive global critical acclaim. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and is widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. It was
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to booklady by: Skylar
"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” is from Yeats's poem "The Second Coming". Fifty years after Chinua Achebe wrote this deceptively simple Nigerian tragedy, Things Fall Apart has never been out of print. It's hailed as Africa's best known work of literature and I can easily see why.

At the heart of the story is a strong man, Okonkwo, with an overwhelming need to prove himself--to himself and his tribe; he must overcome the bad reputation of his drunkard ne'er-do-well father. Although Oko
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
هیچی بهتر از این نیست که سراغ یه نویسنده ای بری که هرگز اسمشو نشنیده ای و اولین کتابشو که بخونی ببینی یه شاهکاره!
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Book-club
Whenever I buy a book for someone as a gift I always include a bookmark, its one of those things I inherited from my parents. As a result of which, whenever I see some nice or quirky or unusual bookmarks I buy them.

A few years ago I bought about ten long metal markers on which were engraved the 50 books one 'ought to have read'. Looking down the list I saw this one and ticked it off as one I had read, though I didn't remember it very well. Then a few months ago my book-club opted to read it. As
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is my new favorite book because within five minutes, a person's reaction will tell me how defensive they are about being considered racist, whether or not they've been accused that minute.
This is an excellent way to identify racists, for fun and profit.

Seriously, covering it in class has been like, "Fielding Racists 101" and "How to Sound Over-Defensive When Talking About How African People Are Actually More Violent, No Totally" class.

One guy actually said there was literally no parallel or
Ahmed Oraby
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رواية ليست بالعادية، أبدًا، وعلى الإطلاق.
هي ملحمة إنسانية بحق، بكل ما فيها من صراعات وحروب وإنهيارات، من ازدهار واندحار، من قيام عشائر وقبائل، وانهيار أخرى، بأديان وآلهة تسقط وتموت، وأخرى تقف وتحارب
تاريخ بطل، ممتزج مع تاريخ قبيلة ودولة وأمة، بكل ما فيها من عادات وخرافات وشعوذات وأسحار سوداء، بكل ما تعبق به تلك الحضارة السوداء من أديان وآلهة
قصة حياة بطل، تداعت حياته، كما تداعى عصره وتداعت أسطورته
قصة حياة جميلة تستحق التأمل، ورواية تحمل كل ما في النفس البشرية من آمال وأحلام، وحتى خرافات، تاريخ صرا
Khashayar Mohammadi
I gotta admit I did not enjoy the book at first, but a few chapters in it got me. I'm still on the fence with Achebe, since the few books I have read by him have left me with bittersweet memories of Objective innocence towards atrocities committed in the name of colonialism. I feel narrative objectivity was a crucial aspect of Achebe's storytelling, but I can't say I enjoy how he writes. I loved his thorough yet simplistic introduction to Ibo culture and language, as well as the juxtaposition of ...more
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DO YOU ENJOY AFRICAN STORIES? 13 57 Feb 21, 2019 04:46PM  
Reading 1001: Things Fall Apart - Achebe 2 10 Jan 06, 2019 05:17PM  
Reading the World: Things Fall Apart - NIGERIA - SPOILERS 14 11 Dec 08, 2018 07:57AM  
Play Book Tag: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - 3.5 stars 4 17 Dec 06, 2018 07:38AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe--Starting November 28th 2 4 Nov 29, 2018 02:56PM  
LHS_Saucey Kids : Things Fall Apart 20 13 Nov 25, 2018 11:51PM  
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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

Other books in the series

The African Trilogy (3 books)
  • No Longer at Ease (The African Trilogy, #2)
  • Arrow of God (The African Trilogy, #3)
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” 336 likes
“There is no story that is not true, [...] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.” 219 likes
More quotes…