Things Fall ApartBook - 1992
The contemporary African writer's classic novel depicting the destruction of traditional tribal life by the white man.
Blackwell North Amer
THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.
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“Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.”
“Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.”
“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.”
"He [Okonkwo] had a slight stammer and whenever he was angry and could not get his words out quickly enough, he would use his fists."
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Okonkwo is a celebrated wrestling champion and a well-off member of Umuofia society. As the novel explores his background as well as his struggle against the spread of Christianity, the reader is transported to pre-colonial Africa.
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