CHINUA ACHEBE SERIES:

    Things Fall Apart

      Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart

“A true classic of world literature . . . A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.”  —**Barack Obama 

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read***

Things Fall Apart is the first of three novels in Chinua Achebe's critically acclaimed African Trilogy. It is a classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart *explores one man's futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political andreligious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.

With more than 20 million copies sold and translated into fifty-seven languages, Things Fall Apart provides one of the most illuminating and permanent monuments to African experience. Achebe does not only capture life in a pre-colonial African village, he conveys the tragedy of the loss of that world while broadening our understanding of our contemporary realities.

**

Amazon.com Review

One of Chinua Achebe's many achievements in his acclaimed first novel, Things Fall Apart, is his relentlessly unsentimental rendering of Nigerian tribal life before and after the coming of colonialism. First published in 1958, just two years before Nigeria declared independence from Great Britain, the book eschews the obvious temptation of depicting pre-colonial life as a kind of Eden. Instead, Achebe sketches a world in which violence, war, and suffering exist, but are balanced by a strong sense of tradition, ritual, and social coherence. His Ibo protagonist, Okonkwo, is a self-made man. The son of a charming ne'er-do-well, he has worked all his life to overcome his father's weakness and has arrived, finally, at great prosperity and even greater reputation among his fellows in the village of Umuofia. Okonkwo is a champion wrestler, a prosperous farmer, husband to three wives and father to several children. He is also a man who exhibits flaws well-known in Greek tragedy:

Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo's fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father.

And yet Achebe manages to make this cruel man deeply sympathetic. He is fond of his eldest daughter, and also of Ikemefuna, a young boy sent from another village as compensation for the wrongful death of a young woman from Umuofia. He even begins to feel pride in his eldest son, in whom he has too often seen his own father. Unfortunately, a series of tragic events tests the mettle of this strong man, and it is his fear of weakness that ultimately undoes him.

Achebe does not introduce the theme of colonialism until the last 50 pages or so. By then, Okonkwo has lost everything and been driven into exile. And yet, within the traditions of his culture, he still has hope of redemption. The arrival of missionaries in Umuofia, however, followed by representatives of the colonial government, completely disrupts Ibo culture, and in the chasm between old ways and new, Okonkwo is lost forever. Deceptively simple in its prose, Things Fall Apart packs a powerful punch as Achebe holds up the ruin of one proud man to stand for the destruction of an entire culture. --Alix Wilber

From Library Journal

Peter Frances James offers a superb narration of Nigerian novelist Achebe's deceptively simple 1959 masterpiece. In direct, almost fable-like prose, it depicts the rise and fall of Okonkwo, a Nigerian whose sense of manliness is more akin to that of his warrior ancestors than to that of his fellow clansmen who have converted to Christianity and are appeasing the British administrators who infiltrate their village. The tough, proud, hardworking Okonkwo is at once a quintessential old-order Nigerian and a universal character in whom sons of all races have identified the figure of their father. Achebe creates a many-sided picture of village life and a sympathetic hero. A good recording of this novel has been long overdue, and the unhurried grace and quiet dignity of James's narration make it essential for every collection.?Peter Josyph, New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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    Arrow of God

      Chinua Achebe
Arrow of God

The second novel in Chinua Achebe’s masterful African trilogy, following Things Fall Apart and preceding *No Longer at Ease

When 
Things Fall Apart ends, colonial rule has been introduced to Umuofia, and the character of the nation, its values, freedoms, religious and socio-political foundations have substantially and irrevocably been altered. Arrow of God, the second novel in Chinua Achebe’s The African Trilogy, moves the historical narrative forward. This time, the action revolves around Ezeulu, the headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, which is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. The novel is a meditation on the nature, uses, and responsibility of power and leadership. Ezeulu finds that his authority is increasingly under threat from rivals within his nation and functionaries of the newly established British colonial government. Yet he sees himself as untouchable. He is forced, with tragic consequences, to reconcile conflicting impulses in his own nature—a need to serve the protecting deity of his Umuaro people; a desire to retain control over their religious observances; and a need to gain increased personal power by pushing his authority to the limits. He ultimately fails as he leads his people to their own destruction, and consequently, his personal tragedy arises. Arrow of God* is an unforgettable portrayal of the loss of faith, and the downfall of a man in a society forever altered by colonialism.

**

Review

*Praise for Arrow of God

***"My favorite novel." —Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Praise for Chinua Achebe

“A magical writer—one of the greatest of the twentieth century.” —Margaret Atwood

“African literature is incomplete and unthinkable without the works of Chinua Achebe.” —Toni Morrison                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

“Chinua Achebe is gloriously gifted with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent.” —Nadine Gordimer

“Achebe’s influence should go on and on . . . teaching and reminding that all humankind is one.” —The Nation
 
“The father of African literature in the English language and undoubtedly one of the most important writers of the second half of the twentieth century.” —Caryl Phillips, The Observer
 
“We are indebted to Achebe for reminding us that art has social and moral dimension—a truth often obscured.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“He is one of the few writers of our time who has touched us with a code of values that will never be ironic.” —Michael Ondaatje

“For so many readers around the world, it is Chinua Achebe who opened up the magic casements of African fiction.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah

“[Achebe] is one of world literature’s great humane voices.” —Times Literary Supplement

“Achebe is one of the most distinguished artists to emerge from the West African cultural renaissance of the post-war world.” —The Sunday Times (London)

“[Achebe is] a powerful voice for cultural decolonization.” —The Village Voice

“Chinua Achebe has shown that a mind that observes clearly but feels deeply enough to afford laughter may be more wise than all the politicians and journalists.” —Time
 
“The power and majesty of Chinua Achebe’s work has, literally, opened the world to generations of readers. He is an ambassador of art, and a profound recorder of the human condition.” —Michael Dorris

From the Publisher

Set in the Ibo heartland of eastern Nigeria, one of Africa's best-known writers describes the conflict between old and new in its most poignant aspect: the personal struggle between father and son.

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    There Was a Country: A Memoir

      Chinua Achebe
There Was a Country: A Memoir

From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart—a long-awaited memoir of coming of age in a fragile new nation, and its destruction in a tragic civil war

For more than forty years, Chinua Achebe maintained a considered silence on the events of the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Decades in the making, There Was a Country is a towering account of one of modern Africa’s most disastrous events, from a writer whose words and courage left an enduring stamp on world literature. A marriage of history and memoir, vivid firsthand observation and decades of research and reflection, There Was a Country is a work whose wisdom and compassion remind us of Chinua Achebe’s place as one of the great literary and moral voices of our age.

**

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    Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays 1965-87

      Chinua Achebe
Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays 1965-87

One of the most provocative and original voices in contemporary literature, Chinua Achebe here considers the place of literature and art in our society in a collection of essays spanning his best writing and lectures from the last twenty-three years. For Achebe, overcoming goes hand in hand with eradicating the destructive effects of racism and injustice in Western society. He reveals the impediments that still stand in the way of open, equal dialogue between Africans and Europeans, between blacks and whites, but also instills us with hope that they will soon be overcome.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    Chike and the River

      Chinua Achebe
Chike and the River

The more Chike saw the ferry-boats the more he wanted to make the trip to Asaba. But where would he get the money? He did not know. Still, he hoped.

Eleven-year-old Chike longs to cross the Niger River to the city of Asaba, but he doesn’t have the sixpence he needs to pay for the ferry ride. With the help of his friend S.M.O.G., he embarks on a series of adventures to help him get there. Along the way, he is exposed to a range of new experiences that are both thrilling and terrifying, from eating his first skewer of suya under the shade of a mango tree, to visiting the village magician who promises to double the money in his pocket. Once he finally makes it across the river, Chike realizes that life on the other side is far different from his expectations, and he must find the courage within him to make it home.

Chike and the River is a magical tale of boundaries, bravery, and growth, by Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most beloved and admired storytellers.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    No Longer at Ease

      Chinua Achebe
No Longer at Ease

A classic story of moral struggle in an age of turbulent social change and the final book in Chinua Achebe’s The African Trilogy

When Obi Okonkwo, grandson of Okonkwo, the main character in Things Fall Apart returns to Nigeria from England in the 1950s, his foreign education separates him from his African roots. No Longer at Ease, the third and concluding novel in Chinua Achebe’s The African Trilogy, depicts the uncertainties that beset the nation of Nigeria, as independence from colonial rule loomed near. In Obi Okonkwo’s experiences, the ambiguities, pitfalls, and temptations of a rapidly evolving society are revealed. He is part of a ruling Nigerian elite whose corruption he finds repugnant. His fate, however, overtakes him as he finds himself trapped between the expectation of his family, his village—both representations of the traditional world of his ancestors—and the colonial world.  A story of a man lost in cultural limbo, and a nation entering a new age of disillusionment, No Longer at Ease is a powerful metaphor for his generation of young Nigerians.

**

Review

"Chinua Achebe is a magical writer — one of the greatest of the twentieth century."
— Margaret Atwood

"It is a measure of Achebe's creative gift that he has no need whatsoever for prose fireworks to light the flame of his intense drama. Wothry of particular attention are the characters. Achebe doesn't create his people with fastidiously detailed line drawings: instead, he relies on a few short strokes that highlight whatever prominent features will bring the total personlaity into three-dimensional life."
Time

"The power of majesty of Chinua Achebe's work has, literally, opened the world to generations of readers. He is an ambassador of art, and a profound recorder of the human condition."
— Michael Dorris

"He is one of the few writers of our time who has touched us with a code of values that will never be ironic. This great voice."
— Michael Ondaatje

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The story of a man whose foreign education has separated him from his African roots and made him parts of a ruling elite whose corruption he finds repugnant. More than thirty years after it was first written, this novel remains a brilliant statement on the challenges still facing African society.

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    A Man of the People

      Chinua Achebe
A Man of the People

From the renowned author of The African Trilogy, a political satire about an unnamed African country navigating a path between violence and corruption

As Minister for Culture, former school teacher M. A. Nanga is a man of the people, as cynical as he is charming, and a roguish opportunist. When Odili, an idealistic young teacher, visits his former instructor at the ministry, the division between them is vast. But in the eat-and-let-eat atmosphere, Odili's idealism soon collides with his lusts—and the two men's personal and political tauntings threaten to send their country into chaos. When Odili launches a vicious campaign against his former mentor for the same seat in an election, their mutual animosity drives the country to revolution.

Published, prophetically, just days before Nigeria's first attempted coup in 1966, A Man of the People is an essential part of Achebe’s body of work.

**

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    Chinua Achebe: Collected Poems

      Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe: Collected Poems

*"The father of African literature in the English language and undoubtedly one of the most important writers of the second half of the twentieth century." --Caryl Phillips, The Observer

*Chinua Achebe's award-winning poems are marked by a subtle richness and the political acuity and moral vision that are a signature of all of his work. Focused and powerful, and suffused with wisdom and compassion, Collected Poems is further evidence of this great writer's sublime gifts and it is an essential part of the oeuvre of a giant of world literature.

**

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    The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays

      Chinua Achebe
The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays

From the celebrated author of Things Fall Apart and winner of the Man Booker International Prize comes a new collection of autobiographical essays—his first new book in more than twenty years.

Chinua Achebe’s characteristically measured and nuanced voice is everywhere present in these seventeen beautifully written pieces. In a preface, he discusses his historic visit to his Nigerian homeland on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Things Fall Apart, the story of his tragic car accident nearly twenty years ago, and the potent symbolism of President Obama’s election. In “The Education of a British-Protected Child,” Achebe gives us a vivid portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its “middle ground,” recalling both his happy memories of reading novels in secondary school and the harsher truths of colonial rule. In “Spelling Our Proper Name,” Achebe considers the African-American diaspora, meeting and reading Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, and learning what it means not to know “from whence he came.” The complex politics and history of Africa figure in “What Is Nigeria to Me?,” “Africa’s Tarnished Name,” and “Politics and Politicians of Language in African Literature.” And Achebe’s extraordinary family life comes into view in “My Dad and Me” and “My Daughters,” where we observe the effect of Christian missionaries on his father and witness the culture shock of raising “brown” children in America.

Charmingly personal, intellectually disciplined, and steadfastly wise, The Education of a British-Protected Child is an indispensable addition to the remarkable Achebe oeuvre.

**

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    Anthills of the Savannah

      Chinua Achebe
Anthills of the Savannah

**A searing satire of political corruption and social injustice from the celebrated author of *Things Fall Apart

*In the fictional West African nation of Kangan, newly independent of British rule, the hopes and dreams of democracy have been quashed by a fierce military dictatorship. Chris Oriko is a member of the president's cabinet for life, and one of the leader's oldest friends. When the president is charged with censoring the opportunistic editor of the state-run newspaper--another childhood friend--Chris's loyalty and ideology are put to the test. The fate of Kangan hangs in the balance as tensions rise and a devious plot is set in motion to silence a firebrand critic. 

From Chinua Achebe, the legendary author of Things Fall Apart, Anthills of the Savannah is "A vision of social change that strikes us with the force of prophecy" (USA Today). 

**

From Publishers Weekly

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this bitterly ironic novel by the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God and The Man of the People is at times more of a polemic than dramatic narrative, but it presents a candid, trenchantly insightful view of contemporary Africa. Set in a undeveloped West African state called Kangan, the plot revolves around the figure of the new president, who has taken power in a military coup. The three main charactersChristopher Oriko, commissioner for information; his lover, Beatrice Okoh, who works in the ministry of finance; and Ikem Osodi, the gadfly editor of the National Gazettehave all known His Excellency since their youths (to them, he is merely Sam) and they have watched with dismay his moral deterioration and his assumption of totalitarian powers. Ikem, in particular, is unable to repress his stinging criticism of the Emperor, and his outspoken denunciations make Chris and Beatrice fear for his safety. As events move toward a violent crisis, Achebe skillfully demonstrates how the social fabric has been destroyed in Third World countries that have been alienated from their rich mythic roots by colonial powers. Though his major characters speak upper-class English to each other, they converse in the local patois with people of humble station. While this language is quite difficult for readers to comprehend, it serves to illustrate the alienation of the British-educated civil servants from the culture of their ancestors, and at the same time reveals the beauty and dignity of the folklore by which moral and behavioral standards were once transmitted. In the end, the novel must be deemed successful in its powerful portrayal of a society in crisis.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"[The writer] in whose company the prison walls fell down' Nelson Mandela "The Founding Father of the African novel in English" - The Guardian

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