Achebe’s Things Fall Apart satisfies my thirst anyday –Abani | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Achebe’s Things Fall Apart satisfies my thirst anyday –Abani

Posted: Apr 19, 2015 at 1:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Though he is dead but the great works the father of modern African literature, Professor Chinua Achebe, left behind appear to have immortalised the gem across the globe.



One of his fans, the Nigerian-born author of Masters of the Board based in California, Professor Chris Abani has testified countless times at conferences and book readings how Acheb’s books especially Things Fall Apart (TFA) has influenced his career since when he was a teenager.

He observed that most African writers have had course to read Achebe for his excellence skill in writing expedition.

“There is no living African writer who has not had to, or will not have to, contend with Achebe’s work. I had grown up reading about the Shi’ar Empire and the X Men, the Silver Surfer and Galactus, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven, the Russian world of Dostoyesky, and watching more American, British, and Australian TV shows than I care to remember, but reading this novel by my brother was riveting—here were my uncles, the double talk of proverbs, the food and masquerades I recognised and even in Okonkwo much of the existential loss of my father’s generation,” he recalled.

Scanning through Abani’s profile, his experience as a voracious reader almost from birth was thrilling as it impacted so much on him.

“When my mother came to turn off the lamp she asked me what I was reading. I told her it was a novel by my brother. She took one look at the first sentence and laughed. It turned out that my brother had copied out the entire Things Fall Apart by hand to impress girls. That says something quite incredible about the power of Achebe’s writing and also the hunger that he clearly understood and addressed. What my brother had done would be equivalent of a contemporary American teenager, in the age of Harry Potter and Twilight, copying out by hand all of Roth’s American Pastoral in a notebook to impress a teenage girl.”

Abani consistently experienced how he marveled at the making of a novel of the status of TFA when Achebe was just 28.  Describing this as an alluring power, he attested to how the skill has insipred serious scholarship, triggering excellence in creative writing across the world.

Abani also said most of Achebe’s works  has changed the course of writing in Africa as it “offered the world African characters with self-awareness and rich inner lives, that would be enough to rivet the attention of a 10-year old and make a 15-year old think that pretending he had written it would make him popular among girls, is a feat I don’t think any other novel can claim. The Igbo say that we only truly die when no one remembers our name, not even our family. Achebe is in no danger of this. He remains a living ancestor.”