Monday, February 25, 2008

Achebe's Book Hits 50

Celebrations are planned in cities across the US to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the twentieth centuries greatest novels, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

Scott Timberg in the Los Angeles Times pays tribute, and looks at how it has influenced other African authors.

Chris Abani, a nigerian author based in Los Angeles calls the book :
... inescapable. ... You're either working against it or within it; you're rejecting it or you're accepting it. But the conversation has to include it.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, a Princeton University professor of philosophy points out that :
The book establishes a series of conventions on how things are to be written about . . . that had never been represented before. ... No one had taken the stately cadences of traditional African speech into English.
And Half a Yellow Sun author Chimamanda Adichie says the novel led to:
... a glorious shock of discovery. It taught me that my world was worthy of literature, that books could also have people like me in them.
I count myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to teach the novel to a class of very enthusiastic Form Five students in Nigeria who made my experience of reading Achebe even more special.

2 comments:

animah said...

I did this for Form 2 Lit.
I'd like to read this again, now that I'm less naive, less idealistic.

Anonymous said...

It's a masterpiece -- and what strikes me about the quotes from Abani, Appiah and Adichie is how similarly many of us feel about Rushdie. In fact I think people have said the *exact* same things, in almost exactly those words, about Midnight's Children. These writers were trailblazers, and now we have to honour them by finding new trails to blaze.

-- Preeta