Things Fall Apart named one of 12 novels considered the “Greatest Book Ever Written”

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Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart has been named one of 12 novels considered “the Greatest Book Ever Written”. The book was named on the list compiled by Encyclopaedia Brittanica, and Achebe masterpiece is named amongst other great literary works. Here is our selection of 10 quotes from Things Fall Apart.

One of Africa’s literary giants Albert Chinualumogu Achebe passed away in 2013 aged 82 but his works continue to make headlines. Achebe’s first novel Things Fall Apart (1958) which is widely considered his magnum opus, and is the most widely read book in modern African literature has been named as one of the 12 greatest books ever written. The honour comes just months after the 60th anniversary of the publication of the novel.

The list was compiled by Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

Things Fall Apart is regarded as an important novel and one of the greatest classics of our time.  The story chronicles the pre-colonial life in Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century.  The novel interrogates the clash of cultures, traditional values and belief systems.

To celebrate the selection of the novel as one of the 12 greatest books ever written we give you our selection of 10 quotes from Things Fall Apart.

  1. “The white man is very clever. He came quietly with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart”.
  2. Eneke the bird: “Men have learned to shoot without missing their mark and I have learned to fly without perching on a twig”.
  3. “Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life”.
  4. “An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb. Okonkwo remembered his own father”.
  5. “There is no story that is not true, […] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others”.
  6. “A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so”.
  7. ”Living fire begets cold, impotent ash”.
  8. “Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten”.
  9. “When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk”.
  10. “Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking: “Why did he do it?”



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Kennedy Mornah is an Award Winning Ghanaian Journalist with over two decades of experience in the Ghanaian Media landscape spanning the electronic, print and digital media. He is a Media Consultant, a Corporate MC, Radio and TV Host, Founder and Publisher of the Maritime and Transport Digest Newspaper, Businessman, a Go getter and an optimist. He has worked for renowned media organizations including Diamond Fm in Tamale, Luv Fm in Kumasi, Oman Fm in Accra and Starr Fm in Accra In 2017 he received the Reporter of the Year Award at the Ghana Shippers Awards in Accra, Ghana.

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