WHO: Chinua Achebe
WHAT: Nigerian novelist and poet best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart
WHEN: Born November 16, 1930; died March 21, 2013
WHERE: Born Ogidi, Nigeria, Nigeria ; died in Boston, Massachusetts
WORK WE HAVE HERE AT LC:
Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems: "Acclaimed novelist Chinua Achebe has now turned his hand to poetry, producing a moving and powerful collection of verse. These poems cover a wide range of subjects—the tragedy of Biafra, and appeal to African consciousness, a gentle mockery of tradition, a recollection of personal relationships. Achebe’s poems are marked by a subtle richness of language which blends simplicity and eloquence, fierceness, and tenderness, and a careful attention to the minute-facial expression, a wrinkled hand, a sunbeam—as a means of enlarging on the more perplexing aspect of life—death, suffering, life’s strange inconsistencies and paradoxes. This collection clearly established Achebe as a skilled and gifted poet."
No Longer at Ease: "Obi Okonkwo feels separated from his African roots because of his education, and he is forced to choose between his culture's traditional values and the demands of his social class."
Things Fall Apart: Tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a "strong man" of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Things Fall Apart is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within."
“If you don't like my story, write your own.” (from Things Fall Apart)
“The impatient idealist says: 'Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.' But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace.” (No Longer at Ease)