Recently i gave myself a task to read books by African authors and the first book i read was Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. This book is considered as the Godfather of all Afrocentric literature and i (as an avid reader) had done a disservice to myself not having read it sooner. I did not put it down and i was done by a day and a half. Impressive even to myself.
What is mindgobbling about this book is the tone the writer uses, which is neither judgemental or enabling, it is as if the narrator is aloof of what is happening. Aloof yet detailed. It is a story about a man who was so overcome by his fear of being basic or unsuccessful he did all he could to not be like his father. He got successful alright both as a farmer and a warrior but as fate would have it he accidentally shot someone and got exiled for 7years.
Well at that point i thought things had really fallen apart for him as he would not get as many tittles he has hoped to acquire in his lifetime with 7 years of his life on hold. Imagine the plot twist of this book to bring us a taste of what it was like when the missionaries first came to spread the word and their role in colonisation to such an extent that this man who had such high hopes for his future decided to commit suicide. Unlike many books it does not have a happy ending, those books annoy me they give a false sense of euphoria. Not a happy ending and yet not particularly sad. I did not expect him to adapt to the new society but i certainly did not expect him to end his life over it.
Important themes to note in the book:
- Traditional religion meets christianity, how they compare and contrast it
- Friendship. You can still love your friend but call them out on their misbehaviours
- Fate. How we cannot escape it
- Taboos. Earlier taboos and how the world was strict about them in comparison to today life
- Motherhood. The story of the wife with an only child who was always sick moved me. I am glad she did not die in the book
- Adapting. Society is inevitably changing (for better or for worse) our option is to change or to die with it
I can give this book an 8/10 rating and if you are a reader like me and haven’t read it i suggest you do. You can drop your email address in the comment section so i can send you the soft copy.