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Literature | Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Blurb – ‘Okonkwo is the greatest warrior alive. His fame has spread like bushfire in West Africa and he is one of the most powerful men of his clan. But he also has a fiery temper. Determined not to be like his father, he refuses to show weakness to anyone – even if the only way he can master his feelings is with his fists. When outsiders threaten the traditions of his clan, Okonkwo takes violent action. Will the great man’s dangerous pride eventually destroy him?’

The first of the legendary ‘African Trilogy’, Things Fall Apart by  Chinua Achebe, is a must-read for all, whether you are an avid fan of African literature or newly exploring it.

Part of the syllabus for schools in most African countries, the world almost missed this literary great when the publishers Achebe sent the only copy to, failed to do anything with it for months.

Too often, we use the term ‘must-read’, but this simply is. Through ‘Things

Fall Apart’ and its main protagonist Okonkwo, Achebe takes us on a journey through the lives of the Igbo people, in a village before and on the cusp of colonialism. This book gives us an invaluable insight into Igbo tradition and culture, and the issues faced once their norms are threatened and involuntary changes are thrust upon them. Described as the ‘greatest warrior alive’, Okonkwo’s fight to hold onto the Igbo norms and values is a noble one, even if misunderstood. Through him, Achebe gives a voice to the many untold stories of those who suffered and were affected as a result of the colonisation of Africa. I could not put this book down and my heart sank as I read the final pages.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is truly deserving of its status as an African literary classic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learnt a lot about Igbo people and their culture. I highly recommend it – both as a read and as part of a long term collection – as I believe it is a book that can, and should, be read over and over.

Have you read Things Fall Apart? I would love to hear your thoughts, please comment below.


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