Chinua Achebe Dead at 82

Chinua Achebe Dead at 82


Chinua Achebe, author of more than 20 books, and with many honors including the 2007 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction has died. He was 82.

Besides novels, Mr. Achebe’s works included powerful essays and poignant short stories and poems rooted in the countryside and cities of his native Nigeria, before and after independence from British colonial rule. His most memorable fictional characters were buffeted and bewildered by the conflicting pulls of traditional African culture and invasive Western values.

For inspiration, Mr. Achebe drew on his own family history as part of the Ibo nation of southeastern Nigeria, a people victimized by the racism of British colonial administrators and then by the brutality of military dictators from other Nigerian ethnic groups.

Mr. Achebe burst onto the world literary scene with the publication in 1958 of his first novel, “Things Fall Apart,” which sold millions of copies and was translated into 45 different languages.

Set in the Ibo countryside in the late 19th century, the novel tells the story of Okonkwo, who rises from poverty to become an affluent farmer and village leader. But with the advent of British colonial rule and cultural values, Okonkwo’s life is thrown into turmoil. In the end, unable to adapt to the new status quo, he explodes in frustration, killing an African in the employ of the British and then committing suicide.

The novel, which is also compelling for its descriptions of traditional Ibo society and rituals, went on to become a classic of world literature and was often listed as required reading in university courses in Europe and the United States.

But when it was first published, “Things Fall Apart” did not receive unanimous acclaim. Some British critics thought it idealized pre-colonial African culture at the expense of the former empire.

“An offended and highly critical English reviewer in a London Sunday paper titled her piece cleverly, I must admit Hurray to Mere Anarchy!” wrote Mr. Achebe in “Home and Exile,” a collection of autobiographical essays that appeared in 2000. A few other novels by Mr. Achebe early in his career were occasionally criticized by reviewers as being stronger on ideology than on narrative interest.

But over the years, Mr. Achebe’s stature grew until he was considered a literary and political beacon.

NY Times

10 thoughts on “Chinua Achebe Dead at 82” by Admin (@ogaoga)

  1. The dynamics of the literary landscape has just changed…

  2. Now an end has come for another to rise…………….

  3. Well, Achebe goes. But we need not mourn. He has fulfilled his personal destiny. In the service of a personal art he elevated a nation and gave voice to never-spoken truths, in recreating a civilization before his time, he gave a history to the Igbo nation. At once contemporary and prophetic, he left his signature on the succeeding generation of writers. They will write his testament.

  4. I have asked this severally – in different formats – and written it of those who lie in our thoughts forever:
    ‘He who lives in our thoughts eternally, words echoing in a presence never forgotten, do they really pass on?’
    The Iroko might have slumbered but the roots remain, the shoots from the tree spreading forth to many many lands. @drzhivago: I see you and I feel you much.

    To echo someone of old: May history be kind to us all. Amen.

  5. PS:
    @admin, please if the second part of the post was quoted from somewhere, can we get a link or quotation for it so that if we do want, we can go get it…?
    If not, then why really is it in those quotes?

    Have issues with people writing our Igbo as Ibo… Of course, it’s the way the Europeans came to write it because of their absence of the ‘gb’ in their sound system. Kai! These people…

    1. @Sueddie you will find NY Times linked at the end of the post, that is where the quote is from.

  6. Welcome to the aboard of our ancestors!

  7. Adieu Chinua Achebe.

  8. Bola (@basittjamiu)

    Goodbye my hero. You can never die, you are truly the living-dead.
    Adieu my prof.

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