“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe


When I chose to read this book I knew nothing about it and had never heard of it. I found it one day when browsing through The Book Cover Archive and loved the artwork above and the title which is taken from a Yeats poem, so I  judged this book by it’s cover and decided to read it. Subsequently, blind reading like this has become one of my favourite ways to read a book, I rarely read the blubs first or know much about them, I love just diving into a big black and white, text filled hole and allowing the author to surprise and transport me. This can be a fairly safe bet when reading a classic or something from a top 100 list but a bit scary when reading a new author or the latest publisher push, so my hot tip is to download the free sample to your Kindle, you get about 30 minutes worth of reading of the book, then you can choose whether to purchase it and continue reading or just delete it if it’s not enticing you.

What’s it about?

This is a novel about the collision between colonialism, christianity and traditional cultures. It is set in the late nineteenth century in a fictional village in Nigeria, and follows the life of Okonkwo, a well-respected member of his clan. It describes his family, customs, society and history culminating in the inevitable influence of the British Colonialists and their Christian Missionaries.

Worth reading because:

It’s an absolute classic of fiction for both African and 20th Century literature and it is one of the first novels about Nigeria written by a Nigerian to recieve worldwide critical acclaim. It’s interesting and sad and lovely and thought provoking. You’ll eat it up because it’s an easy read and you’ll feel something in the process. It’s the kind of book that once you finish reading, you’ll be calling your friends to tell them to read it.

Any other books by this author worth reading?

I read this many years ago and so I am ashamed to say that I haven’t read anything else by Chinua Achebe yet, but there is a sequel to Things Fall Apart called No Longer At Ease, so I plan to sink my teeth into that soon and then follow on with many of his other fiction and non-fiction works.

Choice Cuts:

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.

 If you don’t like my story,write your own

It always surprised him when he thought of it later that he did not sink under the load of despair.


Did you enjoy reading Things Fall Apart?