Saturday, January 12, 2008



Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 152
Reason for Reading : TBR Challenge 2008, Guardian 100 Greatest Books of All Time Challenge

Written by "the founding father of the African novel in English". First published in 1958, this novel has sold over ten million copies in 45 different languages. It is separated into three parts centering around main character Oknokwo. He is a proud man who has established his own wealth after his father died in debt. He has also proven his worth as a warrior too by famously throwing the Cat during a wrestling match. The first part is filled with lots of mini-stories and folk tales letting the reader into the daily life in Umuofia. I really enjoyed this section as it captured life wonderfully, I especially liked Oknokwo's daughter Ezinma by his second wife Ekwefi.

Sadly at the end of the first part Oknokwo accidentally kills another clan member which means he has to leave the clan and be exiled for 7 years. He returns to the land of his mother's people where the white man has arrived and is spreading his religion. They are gathering converts from the villagers including Nwoye, Oknokwo's son. Things are slowing changing in Africa and Oknokwo is against it. Finally in the third part he gets to return to his clan after his exile period is up and take his family back with him. Sadly things are much changed and the white man has arrived there too. Oknokwo witnesses the end of his clan as he knew it.

This was a really powerful tale which I really enjoyed whilst thinking towards the end why do the white people have to always conquer and push their religion on the locals. There were some great stories and parables with the tale and the quote "there is no story that is not true" which I liked. The whole tale seemed to echo one of the initial ones about Oknokwo trying to grow his first yam crop. Strongly recommended, I am so glad I found this treasure.

Other reviews: My Own Little Reading Room

7 comments:

Chris said...

I read this one in high school and wasn't all that crazy about it, but I've thought about it quite a bit over the years thinking that I should go back and reread it. Mainly because I think it's ridiculous to make a group of rowdy 15 year old boys read this in high school and take it seriously and give it a fair study. I'd like to give it a proper reading now and look it over, though I still don't know if it would really be in my tastes. We'll see.

Dance Chica said...

I had to read this for one of my high school English classes and it was one of the few required reading assignments I actually liked.

Rhinoa said...

That's interesting that you both read it at school, I had never heard of it.

Chris - It's only short so if you do have time to re-read it now you don't have to I recommend it. You might really like the folk tales within the main body of the story now.

Dance Chica - I am glad you liked it, what else did you have to read?

Nymeth said...

I had never heard of this before, and it really sounds like something I'd like. Thanks for letting me know about it.

Literary Feline said...

I must read this! Thank you for the great review, Rhinoa. You have such good taste in books.

Darla D said...

I read this one in high school, too, 10th grade, and while it wasn't my favorite, I thought it was a powerful book, and it made me think about things I doubt I had considered very much before that time. What I liked about it was that it was for a "World Literature" class, but almost all the authors in our Norton anthology were western European with a few Russians thrown in. Our teacher had us read this, and some Chinese and Japanese writers, and I liked that.

gautami tripathy said...

I have reviewed it here and going to link it with yours!