Musings on Things Fall Apart

December 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ll keep this review short. I got about a third of the way through this book before I gave up. I usually don’t like giving up on books without finishing them, but I guess the way I see it is that there are so many great books out there to read and often it’s not worth it to spend time slowly trudging through something despite not enjoying the experience of it in the slightest. I know that if I had endeavoured to continued with it, it would take me about a month to finish despite the pretty short length of the book itself.

The thing with Things Fall Apart wasn’t that it was objectively bad. It’s that there was very little to draw me into the book itself. I’ll be honest – I have read some of Achebe’s theories on postcolonialism and race theory, and have thoroughly enjoyed them, so I was excited to read this book, and had high expectations that were dashed pretty fast. It was just a dull read. Sure, there was some interest sparked when Achebe talked about the Nigerian Ibo tribe, but there was no plot to speak of (perhaps one strikes up after the couple of pages that I managed to get through, I don’t know). The lack of a plot is fine. There are many brilliant novels that are lacking in that aspect but pull through in others. Things Fall Apart didn’t, however. What it was lacking for in the plot wasn’t made up by the characters, who were, once again, dull and fairly one-dimensional. I couldn’t sympathise or relate to any of them. Rather, there was a certain distance that seemed to be established between the characters and the readers, making it incredibly difficult to sympathise with the characters (this is a problem that I had with The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald too, but I recognise that it was intentional on the part of Fitzgerald. Maybe this is too). The prose was also lacking. It was simple but not in the good way – it was jarring and dull for the most part.

Maybe I’ll give this a try some other time. It’s not likely but it is highly praised and perhaps there’s something in it I’ve missed.

If you’ve read Things Fall Apart did you have a similar opinion or completely different? Let me know!


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