Sunday, 3 July 2011

Things fall apart

Chinua Achebe's novel Things fall apart has not been made into a film as far as I know.I am writing on it because I felt like seeing the events unfold in front of my eyes when I read it recently, although I have been only once to the continent where it is set and I am truly unaware of the traditions and customs there. Or so I was till I read it.

It is a touching tale of the protagonist Okonkwo. Nested in a cozy corner of lower Niger, the village of Umuofia  has everything from the old world - bonhomie, camaraderie, friendship and also supestitions, fear, some horrible customs. In this village and indeed in several villages nearby, Okonkwo  is a hero - brave soldier, caring father, ruthless judge and like all men of action, sometimes going overboard. He will invariably remind you of Oedipus.

However, unlike in the Greek tragedy, Okonkwo's destiny is made by himself, not by fate. He plays a bigger role in shaping his destiny than fate does. The challenge comes in the form of the European invaders and missionaries.

Sublime satire, superlative description of cruelty without the blood and gore and thoroughly non-judgemental narrative make the book an unforgettable experience.

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