Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Things Fall Apart
Title: Things Fall Apart
Author: Chinua Achebe
Number of pages: 152
Started: 21 September 2009
Finished: 23 September 2009
Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat. Amalinze was the great wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umuofia to Mbaino. He was called the Cat because his back would never touch the earth. It was this man that Okonkwo threw in a fight which the old men agreed was one of the fiercest since the founder of their town engaged a spirit of the wild for seven days and seven nights.
The drums beat and the flutes sang and the spectators held their breath. Amalinze was a wily craftsman, but Okonkwo was as slippery as a fish in water. Every nerve and every muscle stood out on their arms, on their backs and their thighs, and one almost heard them stretching to breaking point. In the end Okonkwo threw the Cat.
Read an extract here.
Okonowo is the greatest warrior alive. His fame has spread like a bushfire in West Africa and he is one of the most powerful men of his clan. But he also has a fiery temper. Determined not to be like his father, he refuses to show weakness to anyone - even if the only way he can master his feelings is with his fists. When outsiders threaten the traditions of his clan, Okonowo takes violent action. Will the great man's dangerous pride eventually destroy him?
What I thought:
I sort of liked this book. I liked some of the folklore stories that it told in it and there were parts of it which I almost thought were quite like a Biblical parable, which I thought was quite interesting. Ultimately I guess the book was about a clash of cultures – the West Africans trying to maintain their ‘barbaric’ culture and ultimately the white missionaries trying to civilise them. I did enjoy it (although it was quite bloodthirsty in places), but I think I found it hard to decide what I thought of the book because whilst the practices of the tribe were not ‘civilised’, I wasn’t that comfortable with what the missionaries were trying to do either. But perhaps that was the point.
It was an interesting read and I warmed to it more as the book continued.