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Customer Review

82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful account of the downfall of a civilisation, 15 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: Things Fall Apart (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Ironically, I got turned on to this book by a piece of music. For years I'd marvelled at The Roots' album whose name, I recently found out, was taken from the title of this book. Having a degree in English Literature dominated by DWEM (dead white european males), Achebe's name had never even surfaced on my radar. What a travesty. Things fall apart is the perfect account of a dead civilisation, following a man, Okinkwo, as he battles with his culture, only to see it destroyed from both within and without by European colonialism. In contradiction to other accounts of Africa (such as Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'), Achebe's account is beautiful for its lack of Orientalist language and allusions, treating the complexities of indiginous Africa as both beautiful and, above all, natural. Neither the Africans, nor the collonialists, are treated as unusual oddities, instead the author manages to impartially portray people, events and traditions with astounding pragmatism, the simple, often abrupt language only reinforcing the novel's lack of sentimentality. A miraculous novel, Things Fall Apart not only paints a picture of Africa during its golden-age, but also demonstrates the ignorance and orientalism which led to its destruction. A true masterpiece.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Aug 2009 00:22:24 BDT
Robert Head says:
Surely you mean occidentalism?

Posted on 2 Mar 2010 01:29:40 GMT
ExpatWing says:
You got a degree in English Literature and never even heard of Achebe?! I'd be banging on your university's door and asking for my money back if I were you :)

Posted on 14 Dec 2011 21:55:38 GMT
Jane Lowood says:
The phrase "things fall apart" came from that dead white european writer Yeats. Try reading his poem The Second Coming.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 09:09:51 BDT
You've just made a snide remark rather than a relevant comment. Literature is a huge area and a degree doesn't mean the holder is an expert on every author. It depends on the university and also on the time when the degree is taken. These things tend to do in cycles, and fashion has a part to play, as in everything else.

Posted on 6 May 2015 17:14:15 BDT
Suezette says:
Ditto... The Roots have forever inspired me, so them to be inspired by African Litrature is simply amazing! X
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