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.
A landmark and pioneer of modern African fiction written in English, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart caused a mixed reaction in me. On the other hand, the novel is highly readable, the plot is fairly simple, many events seem mundane. But then again, it seems difficult to understand and really get into the story. Everything is so very foreign, so distant, so strange and challenging for a Western reader with no first-hand experience of any African, let alone Nigerian, culture or society.
Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, a strong and respected man in his tribe. He is the master of his three wives and children, ruling them with a patriarchal, violent attitude that does not tolerate weakness. However, Okonkwo unwillingly becomes a tragic hero as he has to deal with the consequences of breaking tribal laws. The arrival of Christian missionaries into the region also creates conflict.
The novel has been translated into about 50 languages, but - for some reason - Finnish is not among these.
Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart. Anchor Books. 1994.
AALBC.com authors: Chinua Achebe
Kirjasto.sci.fi: Chinua Achebe
Wikipedia: Things Fall Apart
Wikipedia: Chinua Achebe