I’ve been reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. This is a good book and I recommend that anyone who hasn’t read it should go ahead and try it. I didn’t really like it at first but the detail about Okonkwo and his father was necessary.
As a character, Okonkwo has many layers. He is quick to anger, dismisses fear and weakness in men as being effeminate and is not open to change. He did questionable things and was part of a clan that also did questionable things. I did understand, however, where he was coming from with the imposition of the missionaries and their government. When you are set in your ways it is hard to get accustomed to new things and having them imposed on you in certain aspects does not help matters.
I read a blog saying that you can tell a great writer when the central character does not get “engulfed” by the storyline and you can still remember them. Chinua Achebe definitely exemplifies this.
I am Igbo and I enjoyed reading about aspects of my culture (good and bad). He writes about men acquiring titles, the battles that were fought, the marriage process, clans and religion. Another interesting aspect of this book is the emerging colonialism that occurred in Nigeria. I gained further insight as to how people reacted.
It is the first part of a trilogy. The books that follow are called No Longer At Ease and Arrow of God.
You can buy it at your local book shop and online on sites like Amazon.
I also recommend another good author called Chimamanda Adichie. I enjoyed reading Half of a Yellow Sun which is going to be made into a movie. It is about the Biafran War. She also wrote Purple Hibiscus.