Sangu, look what I found! :D
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Technically, there is nothing wrong with this book. It is well written and lyrical in a manner that is intrinsic to all folklore. Achebe has succeeded in telling a tale of proving ones worth and dealing with change in a voice that is affecting and rustic at the same time.
I realised while reading that Gopinath Mohanty’s Paraja (1987) we studied in school, as part of our literature program, seems to be ‘heavily influenced’ by this work (Achebe wrote ‘Things Fall Apart’ in 1958). I can’t seem to remember if our teacher told us about this. Warning: in both books, things just go from bad to worse.
My only complaint is a little hard to define. It has a lot to do with the pace of the book – usually, when I come across a book that is ridiculously slow-paced, I tend to get bored and put it away. In this case, despite the very gradual development in the book, I wasn’t bored – but it still bothered me on some level.
I’ve read some complaints about the complexity of the traditional names used in this novella and how it was extremely confusing to some readers – maybe it’s just my ‘Indian-ness’ (we have some very complicated names that a lot of people have trouble pronouncing) but that is really something the reader needs to learn to deal with. Changing names to suit other sensibilities is plundering something rooted and authentic.