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Monday, July 02, 2007


Weekends are not easy to spend…especially when the rain Gods are busy during this time. I spent the Saturday completely indoors with Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”. Sunday was a tough day….no reserve books to read….no nearby trips…no internet surfing (the broadband connection I took at my place is out of order). Spent the whole day gazing outside the balcony….while the eyes reflexively admired the swaying rain…the mind refused to deviate from the African words and phrases which I had just came across a day ago.

“Things Fall Apart” is the first African novel which I read in recent times. Perhaps the close link which my job shares with Africa enticed me to choose this book from the ground floor office library. This book reflects the mental turmoil, hatred and fear which an African named Okonkwo faced during his lifetime….first due to the shadow of his past….and later due to the destruction of the social fabric by the missionaries from Europe. The book ends with a sad note…and am yet unable to figure out why Achebe gave such an ending to the life of Okonkwo. He raised him from rags to riches….from the unfortunate child of a dull villager to a brave warrior….and finally from the stature of one of the greatest clansmen to a timid death.

The theme is based in the background of Christian missionaries entering Nigeria….and the novel very vividly and colorfully describes the customs, traditions and beliefs of various clans, intertwined with the simple emotions of day to day life. Achebe brings into his novel the faith of the tribes….chi…eneke-nti-oba, isa-ifi, iyi-uwa and ogbanje children, nso-ani, nza, tufia, ozo…..and many such words…each of which is associated with some tradition, which might seem really wild and mysterious to us. From the world of spirits to the sources of conventional wisdom, Achebe has covered them all….

An interesting book to read….liked it overall….and this paves way for other popular African novels. May be, during my visits to Africa, I can have a better understanding of the subtlety of the African culture.


Anonymous said...

hi..i the same person hu raised some petty pecuniary questions to u a few days bak...i think u r a gud writer and i am a regular reader of yr blog...without any bad intentions i wud like to point out certain grammatical errors in this post of yours which i guess must have crept into your writing inadvertently
for instance instead of " African words and phrases which I had just came across a day ago." it shud be COME across and not came across.

"The book ends with a sad note"
It should be "ends on a sad note"
there were a couple of other mistakes too in your previous posts but i guess i hav made my point.
Hope u dont mind my carping and cavilling in this fashion.


hey...nice to hear from you again...though ur intro demanded some more details...

great to know that you read my posts more seriously than I write them...keep posting such comments...I like them.....

yeah..and i am still wondering how did I write "came"....

Anonymous said...

i dont think one needs to read seriously to find those mistakes but since i go through your blog regularly i took it seriously.