Saturday, December 25, 2010

ninety-five

Things Fall Apart

I wasn't quite sure what to make of Things Fall Apart through the first half - and then I got the hang of it once the conflict coalesced and the tribes found an Other. Everyone and their brother has read this book except for me - so I'm glad I read it. It's well done, especially for its time, and the first half gives you a slice of African village life and family traditions and religious mysticism through a protagonist who's got some daddy issues. I couldn't get the hang of it because the narrative was so episodic when that was definitely not what I was expecting. He also writes it in almost a fable-like format, which is really interesting, but can seem simple at times. But the relationships and the fears and the community that are all manifested in the trials and tribulations of this man and his family were well done. Nigeria is obviously a different country than the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but I could see this book being what existed before the Price family arrived in Africa in the Poisonwood Bible.

The second half was a bit more what I expected - white come in, mess with the local culture through a mix of technology, religion, government, well-meaning, cruelty, and ignorance. Perhaps Achebe was able to open some eyes with the way he ended it. I thought it was fitting. All in all, I'm glad I read it. I'm sure you already did.

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