Although we lost him half a decade ago, Chinua Achebe’s influence on the world’s literary scene is still incredibly palpable. While he blessed us with a ton of great books, essays, poems and short stories, his magnum opus was definitely his masterful debut novel, Things Fall Apart.
So, it comes as absolutely no surprise that, according to a recent list compiled by Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the Achebe masterpiece is considered to be one of the 12 greatest books ever written.
Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart chronicles pre-colonial Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century through the life of our protagonist, Okonkwo — an Igbo man and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia.
The acclaimed novel joins 11 other celebrated books on the list, including Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Speaking about the book’s rise to prominence, Jonathan Hogeback, who compiled the list, said:
“The Western canon of great literature often focuses on writers who come from North America or Europe and often ignores amazing works of literature from other parts of the world.
Things Fall Apart is one such works of African literature that had to overcome the bias of some literary circles and one that has been able to gain recognition worldwide despite it.”