Published: 17th June 2021
#ThrowbackToday: Even after 63 years, Things Fall Apart contines to be the archetypal African novel
In today's #TBT, we tell you why Things Fall Apart was an important novel back when it was published, how it continues to retain the top spot today and will retain its position long, long after
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...
Things Fall Apart, the quintessential African novel and the first of its kind to shoot to global acclaim, borrows its title from the above-quoted poem called The Second Coming by William Yeats. The book was published on June 17, 1958 and paved the way for many African writers to come.
Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe spins the tale about a fictional town and the wrestling champ Igbo. The tale takes the readers through the life of the champion in correlation with the town and its customs and culture. It also talks about the influence of colonialism. But what Achebe aimed to achieve was present Africa without its stereotypical frills like backwardness. The novel is known to have paved the way for the 1960s' Nigerian literary renaissance.
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One of the lesser-known facts about this most iconic novel is that the manuscript was temporarily lost at the publisher’s office in London. But thankfully, it was discovered soon enough.
We leave you with some of the most iconic lines from the book:
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”