Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Things Fall Apart

4.1 out of 5 stars 1,580 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0449241424
ISBN-10: 0449241424
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
More Buying Choices
8 New from $25.18 16 Used from $1.37 2 Collectible from $49.95
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Deliver Her: A Novel
The mother of a grieving teenager makes a decision that may shatter their family forever. Learn More

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One of Chinua Achebe's many achievements in his acclaimed first novel, Things Fall Apart, is his relentlessly unsentimental rendering of Nigerian tribal life before and after the coming of colonialism. First published in 1958, just two years before Nigeria declared independence from Great Britain, the book eschews the obvious temptation of depicting pre-colonial life as a kind of Eden. Instead, Achebe sketches a world in which violence, war, and suffering exist, but are balanced by a strong sense of tradition, ritual, and social coherence. His Ibo protagonist, Okonkwo, is a self-made man. The son of a charming ne'er-do-well, he has worked all his life to overcome his father's weakness and has arrived, finally, at great prosperity and even greater reputation among his fellows in the village of Umuofia. Okonkwo is a champion wrestler, a prosperous farmer, husband to three wives and father to several children. He is also a man who exhibits flaws well-known in Greek tragedy:
Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo's fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father.
And yet Achebe manages to make this cruel man deeply sympathetic. He is fond of his eldest daughter, and also of Ikemefuna, a young boy sent from another village as compensation for the wrongful death of a young woman from Umuofia. He even begins to feel pride in his eldest son, in whom he has too often seen his own father. Unfortunately, a series of tragic events tests the mettle of this strong man, and it is his fear of weakness that ultimately undoes him.

Achebe does not introduce the theme of colonialism until the last 50 pages or so. By then, Okonkwo has lost everything and been driven into exile. And yet, within the traditions of his culture, he still has hope of redemption. The arrival of missionaries in Umuofia, however, followed by representatives of the colonial government, completely disrupts Ibo culture, and in the chasm between old ways and new, Okonkwo is lost forever. Deceptively simple in its prose, Things Fall Apart packs a powerful punch as Achebe holds up the ruin of one proud man to stand for the destruction of an entire culture. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Peter Frances James offers a superb narration of Nigerian novelist Achebe's deceptively simple 1959 masterpiece. In direct, almost fable-like prose, it depicts the rise and fall of Okonkwo, a Nigerian whose sense of manliness is more akin to that of his warrior ancestors than to that of his fellow clansmen who have converted to Christianity and are appeasing the British administrators who infiltrate their village. The tough, proud, hardworking Okonkwo is at once a quintessential old-order Nigerian and a universal character in whom sons of all races have identified the figure of their father. Achebe creates a many-sided picture of village life and a sympathetic hero. A good recording of this novel has been long overdue, and the unhurried grace and quiet dignity of James's narration make it essential for every collection.?Peter Josyph, New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Fawcett (February 12, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449241424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449241424
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,580 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,076,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Eby on September 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
The first time I read this book, I hated it. Just flat hated it. That was my junior year of high school. Flash forward a few years to college, and it's on the reading list again. "Why, oh why?" I moan. Then I read the thing. And you know what I discover? It's a masterpiece.
Chinua Achebe describes "Things Fall Apart" as a response to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", which is, comparatively, a denser, perhaps less accessible read. The parallels are there: the ominous drumbeats Marlow describes as mingling with his heartbeat are here given a source and a context. We, as readers, are invited into the lives of the Ibo clan in Nigeria. We learn their customs, their beliefs, terms from their language. Okonkwo, the main character, is the perfect anti-hero. He is maybe Achebe's ultimate creation: flawed, angry, deeply afraid but outwardly fierce. To have given us a perfect hero would have been to sell the story of these people drastically short. Achebe's great achievement is in rendering them as humans, people we can identify with. So they don't dress like Americans, or share our religious beliefs. Who's to say which method is correct, or if there has to be a correct and incorrect way. Achebe provokes thoughtfulness and important questions. His narrative is easy to read structurally, but the story itself is painful and frustrating. It is worthy of its subject.
"Things Fall Apart" provoked some of the best classroom discussions I've ever experienced. As a reader, it has enriched my life. My thanks to Achebe for his marvelous contribution to literature. This book has a permanent place on my shelves.
13 Comments 584 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on April 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
The first two-thirds of "Things Fall Apart" is an affectionate description of the culture of an Ibo clan told from an insider's viewpoint, focusing on the life of Okonkwo, one of his tribe's most respected leaders. The customs and religion of the Ibo village are described with sympathy and simplicity, creating a sense of nostalgia for a way of life completely exotic to Western sensibilities, but making the reader feel the force and logic of a traditional culture seen from within. This idyllic description is clouded by the reader's awareness of the culture's fragility, a foreboding sense of pity and of looming disaster. Disaster comes, of course, in the shape of white missionaries. In the last part of the story, evangelizing Christians and English colonial administrators establish themselves in the Ibo village, and act to corrode and unravel the traditional life of the Ibo people. An escalating series of misunderstandings and conflicts between the whites and natives lead to the inevitable tragic ending. In the last paragraph of the novel, the perspective shifts suddenly to that of the English colonial adminstrator, and ends with one of the most powerful and affecting last lines of any novel I've read.
This book was thoroughly enjoyable, and I recommend it unreservedly.
Comment 274 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
SPOILERS AHEAD:
This novel was set in the Igbo homeland in what is now southeastern Nigeria in the late 1800s/early 1900s. I read about three-quarters of the book before I could begin to appreciate it.

Up to then I'd disliked the main character, Okonkwo, an important person in the village whose major traits were harsh anger, pride and inflexibility, finding him one-sided and uninteresting. I felt the description was plodding and little of importance was happening, and wasn't greatly interested in the village life. Much of the novel was concerned mainly with his point of view, and his interactions with the other, relatively minor characters were unexciting. When a dramatic event occurred, such as his accidental shooting of a villager that led to his exile, it was described in a flat, undramatic tone that seemed inappropriate and puzzled me.

I couldn't help comparing this novel unfavorably with another I happened to be reading, Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz, with its complex, many-sided protagonist, the many other strongly developed people in his family, the dramatic interaction between them, and the rich world around them that was reasonably familiar.

It was only after reading some background material on the Internet that I could begin to understand how Achebe's novel aimed to recreate a vibrant culture that had existed before colonization on its own terms, with its oral tradition, rituals and taboos, and guardian spirits, and show what had been lost. The focus on a period before colonization and the depiction of the whites as interlopers has been called innovative for its time. Likewise the use of language in the words of the villagers, instead of pidgin.
Read more ›
4 Comments 133 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to get a couple of things out of the way right now to make you understand why this book has been so important to me (and could be to you as well). First, I am definitely someone who shuns most self-help tomes--I think most of them are crutches for weak people too lazy to get their acts together or too clueless to embrace a little common sense. Second, my prior experiences with the Covey cult were less than satisfying, as I had a boss (now departed) who talked the Covey talk but did not (I now see) truly walk the walk. This book differs from the _7 Habits_ texts in that it really deals with taking the general Covey concepts ("principle-centered living") and giving them a practical sheen--in this case by applying them to time management. Learning to divide my activities between "urgent" and "important," planning my life around certain "roles" that I have to fill, and composing a "mission statement" (a much more realistic and helpful version of year 2000 New Year's resolutions for me)--these were the concepts that have really helped me organize my life as efficiently as possible (and I was already pretty organized). I highly recommend buying the book and then following up by getting a Franklin Covey planner, where you can take the lessons from the book and start building your time and life around them. I have loaned the book to several friends and students (I teach high school) and all of them have benefitted from it in some way or another. Buying _First Things First_ will be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
And I can't believe I just wrote a positive review of a self-help book. Trust me on how helpful this book can be.
8 Comments 213 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews