Book 7: Nigeria (English) – Things Fall Apart (Chinua ACHEBE)

Mr Brown’s successor was the Reverend James Smith, and he was a different kind of man. He condemned openly Mr Brown’s policy of compromise and accommodation. He saw things as black and white. And black was evil. He saw the world as a battlefield in which the children of light were locked in mortal conflict with the sons of darkness. He spoke in his sermons about sheep and goats and about wheat and tares. He believed in slaying the prophets of Baal.

 

Nigeria is one of those countries, like India and Russia for example, which has so many fantastic writers that it is difficult to decide which one to choose. This is a short, easily read classic, an ideal introduction to African literature. Its prose is clear and dignified. The hero is not very sympathetic, in fact is a dinosaur who cannot change to keep up with his changing world. A man of violence, he sees the coming of Christianity and cannot abide it, or compromise with it. When the world changes, as it constantly does, sometimes gradually and sometimes getting skewed off its axis, we have the choice of adapting to it, of fighting it, or of going under. The message is that you must accept that the waters around you have grown, although no one can blame you for regretting what has been lost.

 

ACHEBE, Chinua (1930- ), Things Fall Apart, London, Penguin, 2001 (originally published in Heinemann African Writers Series, 1958), ISBN 978-0-141-02338-0

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