Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reading: Things Fall Apart (Classics in Context edition)

In 1958, a highly unusual manuscript arrived at the Heinemann publishing house in London. It was a novel, set in Africa, with Africans as the main characters, and written by a young unpublished African writer. Heinemann took a risk and published the novel. More than 50 years later that novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest novels of the 20th Century. Indeed, it frequently ends up on lists of the finest novels of all time. Achebe was 28 when the novel was published and several years younger when it was conceived and started.

I'm currently rereading Things Fall Apart in the Classics in Context edition. It contains a wealth of supplementary material including scholarly essays by Professor Simon Gikandi of Princeton University and the late Professor Don Ohadike of Cornell University. This book is a fascinating introduction for anyone who might be interested to learn more about African history and African culture.

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