Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Timberg, Scott. "At 50, Achebe Novel Looks Immortal." LOS ANGELES TIMES February 24, 2008.
About a half-century ago, a shy young Nigerian man, who had grown up reading Dickens and Pilgrim's Progress, put his handwritten novel in the mail to a typing service in London. The manuscript sat untouched for months, until a colleague rescued it during a visit to Britain. These pages, after several rejections, later found their way to a sympathetic publisher.The book eventually released, Things Fall Apart, became a critical hit in Britain as well as the first African novel to break through to the English-speaking world. Not only did it sell -- nearly 10 million copies, in 50 languages -- this slim, understated volume became the one African novel to break, unambiguously, into the often impenetrable Western canon. The book continues to live: High school kids and college students read it for class, while African novelists read it to pursue its ideas and themes. To literary scholar John Marx of UC Davis, it's "the first novel of the African literary canon, to be sure, but also a key text in the body of writing one needs to know to be literate. I'd say that's the case not only in the English-speaking world but just about everywhere". . . . Read the rest here: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-ca-things24feb24,0,2262817.story.