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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 1 March 2012
These stories are classic; brilliant. Achebe takes us to the heart of the Igbo people at the time of the `falling apart' of their civilisation in the face of colonialists and missionaries. We are witness to the turmoil through the experiences of the main characters, particularly Okonkwo in 'Things Fall Apart' and Ezeulu in 'Arrow of God'. We follow the rhythm of their lives, measured by the seasons, by market days and festivals, governed by the formalities and rituals of kinship and community, under the all- embracing presence of gods and spirits. A dialogue rich in proverbs flows throughout as we become intimately acquainted with an extended family and the bonds and tensions of kinship. So we watch in dismay as this way of life is misunderstood and unwittingly trampled on and destroyed as two cultures meet in mutual bewilderment and ignorance.
It is the humanity of these ordinary (yet extraordinary) people living their lives, doing their jobs, dealing with the unknown, Igbo or British, black or white, which gives Achebe's writing universal appeal. We believe in and identify with his characters and so we are completely involved and deeply moved as the tragedy inevitably unfolds.
'No Longer At Ease' carries the same humanity as we share in the troubles faced by Obi Okonkwo (Okonkwo's grandson) as he grapples with his life in 1950s Lagos and his job in a corrupt civil service. He is of the Igbo people from eastern Nigeria, and educated in England, and we know the story of his grandparents, so again, we are deeply involved in his story.
The Everyman's Library 2010 edition has an introduction by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of 'Half a Yellow Sun', set in the context of the Biafra War, a further tragedy for the Igbo people.
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As a child growing up, Things fall apart and Achebe's other books formed part of my compulsory literature reading list as well as my reading for pleasure list. Achebe's works were set aside from other African literature books by its precise use of the language, its reality and autobiographical tone, the intricate and captivating stories on a background of political and historical settings, and the style of writing that on deeper analysis allows one a better and deeper appreciation of the conceptual context and thinking behind the stories.

This is a hard back copy of his three best internationally acclaimed novels which came to be known as Achebe's trilogy. Starting with his first and most loved book- 'Things fall apart' in which we encounter Okonkwo the strong man and tribal elder who becomes a'fallen hero' and the transformation to the Igbo society under the impact of Christianity and Colonialism. In the sequel 'No longer at Ease' we meet Okonkwo's grandson, Obi who returns following his education in England to a colonial job and a clash with the ruling elite. 'Arrow of God' is the last book of the Trilogy and explores the conflict between an Igbo priest and a British warrant officer.

These three books are a gem and tell the story of personal and moral struggle in the face of a changing world. Most importantly the three form an arc of what could be described as the human chronicle of cultural and political changes that brought about what could now be seen as the modern African state.

I was particularly surprised to find this collection of his trilogy in one hard backed edition, with a forward from the new internationally acclaimed author Chimanmanda Ngozi Adichie. It is published by Everyman's Library and is excellent value for money. This is one book that must not be missing from the shelves of any literary minded person. If you are a book lover and like well written books filled with life lessons then here is one not to miss. I highly recommend this book; it is well priced and excellent value for money.
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on 15 September 2012
Things Fall Apart - how have I arrived at 63 without having read this? I'd heard of Achebe via reading Adichie who credits him as her literary hero.
Africa by an African and so honest! He deals with the arrival of the white man and his terrible effects on tribal society without looking at that tribal society through rose tinted spectacles.
An absolute must read
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on 21 October 2013
I bought this trilogy because I had never heard of the writer until his death a few months ago. The stories are as expected from reading other reviews, an African's take on Africa and its people over three separate generations (each has its own novel). The tales flow and the take on the way Black and White characters see the same events differently is well constructed. The economic,social, and political changes over the past century or so are tied into the thoughts and actions of the characters but it is not necessary to read all three novels as each is capable of standing on its own. Having said that the experience of all three enhances the understanding. Not having read any other African literature I have nothing with which to compare these novels but I would recommend them.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 September 2012
Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God are great novels; imaginative reconstructions of past life for the Igbo, the first telling the story of Okonkwo who has many of the attributes of the classical tragic hero - a very big man, but one with tragic flaws, who will meet a tragic fate. Arrow of God, set in the 1920s, also introduces us to a very powerful figure, Ezeulu, who is also destined for defeat as he struggles to come to terms with the present (the arrival and power of the white man) and with the kind of rivalry between different villages which must have been present in some shape or form since time immemorial. Both are great books, sympathetic and understanding in equal measure of all the people who appear in them.

No Longer At Ease is more 'definitely worth reading'. This is Nigeria in the 1950s, struggling now with corruption in the last days of British rule, and tells the - once again tragic, but in a lower key - story of a young Nigerian educated abroad who returns home full of idealism and succumbs to the power of circumstance. It has less wider resonance, but also paints a vivid portrait of Nigeria at a particular place and time.
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on 11 January 2013
This book is a must for anyone thinking about changing culture. I live in Scotland and work in Uganda and I found that there are parelels to both places in the remarkable book.
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on 4 February 2016
a book about Nigerian culture written by a Nigerian
highly recommended as the author portrays customs and characters devoid of a colonial patina
the fact that the main protagonists fall short of our expectations is also a refreshing twist on our hero worship
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on 23 April 2014
I wanted to start to learn more about Nigeria having worked there, and worked with several Nigerians throughout my career, and this is my first novel from there. I have still not managed to finish the third book and I think I need to start it all again. I didn't get a strong feel of what exactly Achebe wanted to say about Nigeria. I certainly didn't feel it was just a poke a Colonialism. There is a lot more than that. But I also didn't feel drawn into the book nor live through it the way a good novel usually does. I guess I am a bit disappointed.
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on 5 July 2014
Bought this for my dad because he loves Africans and stuff. He said it's an amazing book if you're into all that so it gets 5/5. Also, very good value to get three books from the man renowned as *the* authority of African literature, especially in a hardback book.
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on 30 May 2014
What more can I say about these masterpieces. As an African born in the London, England, these stories are amazing and reinforce my love for my motherland. The great man has joined the ancestors but, his words will live on for generations to come.
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