Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

71%

14 Critic Reviews

This book sings with the terrible silence of dead civilizations in which once there was valor.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Chinua Achebe

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Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. His first novel, Things Falls Apart, became a classic of international literature and required reading for students worldwide. He also authored four subsequent novels, two short-story collections, and numerous other books. He was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and, for over 15 years, was the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. In 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement. He died in 2013.
 
Published October 6, 2010 by Anchor. 209 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Business & Economics, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Things Fall Apart
All: 14 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 23 2013

This book sings with the terrible silence of dead civilizations in which once there was valor.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Phil Mongredien on Jan 31 2010

...Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, a proud and highly respected Igbo from Umuofia, somewhere near the Lower Niger...The first part of a trilogy, Things Fall Apart was one of the first African novels to gain worldwide recognition: half a century on, it remains one of the great novels about the colonial era.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Kevin Eagan on Mar 01 2008

Although the novel seems simple at face value, it shows how difficult it is to overcome centuries of colonial rule that uprooted so many people and customs...Achebe's novel shows that it's too difficult to view Africa from one perspective, and the story will remain a powerful force in African literature.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Peter Kelton on Sep 11 2011

..."Things Fall Apart’ tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria...Examiner recommends this novel for its historic significance but mostly because it is contemporary literature crafted simply, powerfully and artfully.

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by POPPY ADAMS on May 16 2008

...Achebe's wise and subtle story-telling cuts to the heart of these tribal people with humanity, warmth and humour. You begin to understand their brutal customs borne out of hardship, fear and the wrath of ancestral spirits...Things Fall Apart is simple, honest, unbiased, and has the most powerful ending of any book I've read.

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Suite 101

Above average
Reviewed by Jenna Galley on Mar 05 2009

Achebe has created a history of his people that, before Things Fall Apart, was simply never written or even known.

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Pajiba

Below average
Reviewed by Peta on Jan 05 2010

Initially I didn't like Okonkwo as a main character because he seemed to be completely intolerant of change...Although I didn't LOVE the book, I understand the importance of a work such as this one. We need to see the subjugation of the African people from their own perspective.

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ReadySteadyBook

Good
Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on Jul 18 2005

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a beautiful novel - as an extended metaphor for African despoliation, life and politics it works wonderfully...The scenes from the life of Nigeria's Ibo society are painted with an assured, uplifting clarity and they resonate brightly...

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on Jul 16 2015

Readers will feel like they are part of the Ibo as they follow their day-to-day activities, but will also realize how quickly things can fall apart...Things Fall Apart is essential reading for people to comprehend the fragility of humankind.

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EzineArticles

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Saliba on May 17 2011

The novel is remarkable for its simple elegance of style. Achebe's prose never over reaches itself, always finding the exact right word to describe character and situation. What's all the more remarkable is that Things Fall Apart, which is mature in tone and outlook, was written by a young man in his twenties whose first language was not English.

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Brothers Judd

Excellent
Reviewed by brothersjudd on Jul 27 2000

This is a wonderful novel, full of universal figures, themes and lessons. It balances an abiding respect for Ibo tradition with a realization that their future depended on Western ideas...What greater contribution can a novelist make than to help preserve the best of his own culture and convey it to the world...

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Book Review Circle

Above average
Reviewed by Ashmita Saha on Jul 11 2015

The language used by Achebe is very straightforward and plain. This style is in keeping with the spirit of the tribes in the novel...Two thirds of the book describes the rituals and customs of the Igbo tribe...The last third of the book describes the change that Christian missionaries and English invaders bring to the tribe.

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Shelf Love

Below average
Reviewed by Jenny on Jun 17 2013

It didn’t seem particularly complex or engaging, especially compared to some of the other novels I’ve read on these topics. I wonder what I am missing? I am prepared to believe I’m wrong; a major classic of world literature probably has more than I’m seeing if I am not finding many layers

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Asylum

Above average
Reviewed by John Self on Jul 24 2007

Okonkwo’s savagery can come to no good, and he lives to regret his bloody ways when he does something terrible...However it’s at this crucial point where the steam suddenly runs out of the story...Only when the white missionaries arrive...do things pick up again.

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