by Chinua Achebe (1958)
Things Fall Apart was a milestone in African Lit. It was one of the first successful novels about Africa and written by an African. It introduced the world to tribal living in Nigeria, specifically the Igbo culture at the time of the 19th century invasion of missionaries and colonists. It’s no less interesting decades later and no less heartbreaking.
Chronicling the life of a fierce warrior named Okonkwo, author Chinua Achebe is economical in his writing which is matter of fact and without dramatic flourishes and lengthy descriptions. Events, as small as women preparing for a feast and as powerful as the murder of a son are described frankly and simply, which makes them all the more affecting. It reflects the traditional stories that are woven into the novel.
The novel is common high school reading, made clear to me in my used book that includes the scrawled inscription “I hate this book!” from some ninth grader past, but this is the first time I’ve read it. I enjoyed it much, much more than the book’s previous owner.