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"Things Fall Apart" at 50; Achebe Honored

Chinua Achebe's classic novel about Africa, Things Fall Apart, turns fifty this year. Last night Achebe appeared at NYC's Town Hall, in a tribute sponsored by the writers' organization PEN American Center, among others. He was interviewed recently by the Village Voice. Until I read the Voice article, I didn't realize that the Nigerian-born author lives in the U.S. and teaches at Bard College. And I'm glad to hear kids are reading Things Fall Apart; I'd been thinking that it would be a good fit for teenagers. Achebe told journalist Carol Cooper,

 The number of children who are reading Things Fall Apart in high school has increased enormously, especially among the students who take my classes. For me, that's a very good sign. Because this generation has a lot of responsibility waiting for it. And how they link up with others their age in distant places may well determine how our civilization survives in this century.

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, you'll find another good piece, by Peter Monaghan, which situates Things Fall Apart, and other work by Achebe, in a literary context. If you're not familiar with the novel or the author, this article is a good place to start.


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We read Things Fall Apart my senior year of high school, back in the 1980s, and boy was it an eye opener. I'm glad it's still going strong.

On an unrelated chicken note, did you know that six eggs are called a "hand" of eggs? We have gotten seven so far, which is perhaps called a baker's hand.

Charlotte, I didn't read "Things Fall Apart" until about ten years ago. I read it right around the time I read "Heart of Darkness" for the first time. I'd like to re-read both.

A hand? No, I didn't know that. Yay for your chickens! Fuzzy lays about 5 out of 7 days a week. So far the new hen hasn't laid a one. But she's a hoot, so we love her.

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