Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe) – First published in 1959

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

(One of the first African novels written in English to receive global critical acclaim)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things Fall Apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

–W. B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

CHAPTER ONE

Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honour to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat. Amalinze was the great wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umuofia to Mbaino. He was called the Cat because his back would never touch the earth. It was this man that Okonkwo threw in a fight which the old men agreed was one of the fiercest since the founder of their town engaged a spirit of the wild  for seven days and seven nights.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. He was raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centres of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, and is a graduate of University College, Ibadan.

His early career in radio ended abruptly in 1966, when he left his post as Director of External Broadcasting in Nigeria during the national upheaval that led to the Biafran War.

He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad.

From 1972 to 1976, and again in 1987 to 1988, Mr. Achebe was Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and also for one year at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Cited in the London Sunday Times as one of the “1,000 Makers of the Twentieth Century” for defining “a modern African literature that was truly African” and thereby making “a major contribution to world literature,” has published novels, short stories, essays, and children’s books. His volume of poetry, Christmas in Biafra, written during the Biafra War, was the joint winner of the first Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Of his novels, Arrow of God is winner of the New Statesman-Jock Campbell Award, and Anthills of the Savannah was a finalist for the 1987 Booker Prize in England.

Mr. Achebe has received numerous honors from around the world, including the Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, as well as more than twenty honorary doctorates from universities in England, Scotland, the United States, Canada, and Nigeria. He is also the recipient of Nigeria’s highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award.

At present, Mr. Achebe lives with his wife in Annandale, New York, where they both teach at Bard College. They have four children

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