Thursday, January 25, 2018

Achebe, Chinua (Things Fall Apart)

This was interesting to read at the same time as Homegoing. Talk about experiences based on male perspectives vs. experiences based on female perspectives...

At their cores, both books deal with African experiences with Western encroachments on the continent (such as Christianity and slavery), however Achebe's book details more African traditions and values. You learn what the gods meant to the villages and the tribes. You learn what their governmental structure was (and why it worked). You learn what was expected, specifically, of a man in that world.

The book follows one particular man, his missteps and faults, navigating his life and what he thinks is expected of it. It makes clear what happens when you don't accept changes that you have little to no control over. In that respect, I found it a valuable lesson for any reader, regardless of the community you live in.

While clearly a tragedy, and also clearly a drama, it has its elements of humor and wonder and mystery. It is, above all, male-centric, which at first was difficult to get used to (in this current climate). More importantly, it offers a view into a world that was not familiar to me (even from Gyasi's book).

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