« | Home | »

Chinua Achebe

Tags: |

From Chimamanda Adichie’s review of There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (LRB, 11 October 2012):

He began to write Things Fall Apart after a British lecturer told him an earlier story he had written lacked ‘form’, but was then unable to explain to him what form meant. ‘I was conscripted by the story,’ he writes, ‘and I was writing at all times – whenever there was any opening. It felt like a sentence, an imprisonment of creativity.’ He is, famously, one of the writers who ‘wrote back’ to the ‘West’, who challenged, by writing his own story, the dominant and reductive Western images of his people. In his essay ‘The Novelist as Teacher’ he wrote that he would be happy if his work did nothing more than show his people that theirs had not been a life of darkness before the advent of the Europeans. ‘The writer,’ he says, ‘is often faced with two choices – turn away from the reality of life’s intimidating complexity or conquer its mystery by battling with it. The writer who chooses the former soon runs out of energy and produces elegantly tired fiction.’ On the other hand, his work never sinks under this burden of responsibility.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.

  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • name on Who is the enemy?: Simply stating it is correct doesn't make it so, I just wish you would apply the same epistemic vigilance to "Muslim crimes" as you do to their Hebrew...
    • Glen Newey on Unwinnable War: The legal issue admits of far less clarity than the simple terms in which you – I imagine quite sincerely – frame them. For the benefit of readers...
    • Geoff Roberts on The New Normal: The causes go back a long way into the colonial past, but the more immediate causes stem from the activities of the US forces in the name of freedom a...
    • sol_adelman on The New Normal: There's also the fact that the French state denied the mass drownings of '61 even happened for forty-odd years. No episode in post-war W European hist...
    • funky gibbon on At Wembley: If England get France in the quarter finals of Euro 16 I expect that a good deal of the fraternity will go out the window

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Edward Said: The Iraq War
    17 April 2003

    ‘This is the most reckless war in modern times. It is all about imperial arrogance unschooled in worldliness, unfettered either by competence or experience, undeterred by history or human complexity, unrepentant in its violence and the cruelty of its technology.’

    David Runciman:
    The Politics of Good Intentions
    8 May 2003

    ‘One of the things that unites all critics of Blair’s war in Iraq, whether from the Left or the Right, is that they are sick of the sound of Blair trumpeting the purity of his purpose, when what matters is the consequences of his actions.’

    Simon Wren-Lewis: The Austerity Con
    19 February 2015

    ‘How did a policy that makes so little sense to economists come to be seen by so many people as inevitable?’

    Hugh Roberts: The Hijackers
    16 July 2015

    ‘American intelligence saw Islamic State coming and was not only relaxed about the prospect but, it appears, positively interested in it.’

Advertisement Advertisement