Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader



Things Fall Apart

Peter Monaghan in The Chronicle Review looks back at the fate of a first novel:

Since William Heinemann Ltd. first issued it in London, the novel has sold about 11 million copies in some 50 countries and as many languages. (This month Anchor Books will issue a 50th-aniversary edition.) In the United States, in an era of multiculturalism, it has become a fixture on college and high-school reading lists — for Americans, the quintessential novel about Africa.

and the author’s words are characteristically modest:

Fifty years on, Achebe clearly takes special pride in the novel. When he started it, he says, he had no experience as a writer. But “I knew that there was a story that was needed, that was waiting to come. And so I just … well, one was sufficiently naïve to think it was going to be possible.”

One Response to “Things Fall Apart”

  1. ashmita says:

    I tend to feel that the loss of the native Africa is poignant in many African writers. Things Fall Apart(Achebe) and The Famished Road(Okri) both seem to have overtones of this loss in their storyline.

    I don’t want to pick up another African author for fear of repeating my read…tell me if you think differently.

    jb says: Hi Ashmita. This is not an area of expertise for me. But I do feel that Achebe’s book is about so much more than you suggest.