Chinua Achebe’s first book, Things Fall Apart, was written in the year of 1957, but was not published until 1958 when after a series of rejections from various publishing companies throughout London, the novel was finally picked up by Donald MacRae of Heinemann Publishing. MacRae convinced his fellow executives, who were hesitant at the time, to publish the book proclaiming that it was, “the best novel I’ve read since the war!” After not touching a word of Achebe’s writing during the editing and publishing process, Heinemann published 2,000 copies of the 209 page novel, and made them available to the rest of the world on June 17, 1958. Upon its publication, contrary to the other publishing company’s former hesitation towards the book, Achebe’s novel was well-received by the British Press as well as many other different magazines, critics, and fellow novelists. However; he did in fact receive mixed reviews from that of his native people, the Nigerians, after attempting to further promote the book in South Africa. Despite this, Chinua Achebe’s publication of Things Fall Apart proved to not only be what is considered his magnum opus, but also his start in writing other various novels that dealt with such issues as the cultural aspects behind the African life, being subjected to change, and most of all, religion. Often cited as the birth of African literature, Things Fall Apart is one of the first Africa novels to have been written in English and received a global critical acclaim, and is also now a staple book in schools throughout Africa, and widely read/studied in English-speaking countries throughout the world. This book is the winner of the Margaret Wong Memorial Prize, and has also been recognized within major magazines including Newsweek’s list of Top 100 Books of 2009 in which it was ranked number fourteen overall, as well as Time magazine’s Time Best English-language Novels from 1923-2005.
Publication March 23, 2011