Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

3 stars

Every now and then I come to the realisation that I've once again fallen down a paranormal/fantasy hole, and so try and widen my reading a little. It's those times that I turn to the lists - in particular 1000 Books To Read Before You Die, and the Times 100 Greatest. It's these lists that led me to this book.

Shining a light on the traditions, customs and culture of a Nigerian village through telling the story of Okonkwo - a proud and respected man of high standing - and the destruction of said culture through the arrival of Christian missionaries, this wasn't always an easy book to read although I really enjoyed the way in which it was told.

Written in a way that made me feel that I was listening to it rather than reading, I found seeing every day village life to be an effective way of learning about a culture I'd normally not have any real exposure to, even as I found myself disliking our protagonist and being upset or angered by some of traditions and customs of the village (such as the treatment of women and the violence against children frequently advocated by the mad bitch in the cave Oracle).

Seeing the changes wrought by the missionaries whilst experiencing Okonkwo's feelings towards them made me better able to appreciate how deeply such a culture clash would run as well as how helpless the potential flock would feel in the face of such changes (I'm personally of the opinion that believing in one particular god or another doesn't make anyone any more or less of a shit. Every religion has its assholes, as well as practices that can either upset or wind me up, depending on my mood).

I really didn't like Okonkwo though...

No comments:

Post a Comment