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Publisher's Summary

Okonowo is the greatest warrior alive and one of the most powerful men of his clan. Determined not to be like his father, he refuses to show weakness to anyone - even if the only way he can master his feelings is with his fists. When outsiders threaten the traditions of his clan, Okonowo takes violent action. Will the great man's dangerous pride eventually destroy him?

©1959 Chinua Achebe (P)1997 Recorded Books LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wrong narrator for this book

Would you consider the audio edition of Things Fall Apart to be better than the print version?

No, definitely not this audio edition. The African American narrator was good but his intonation was off. He could not provide the right atmosphere and as a result detracted from the entire story line. I am Nigerian and would have preferred a Nigerian or African author who could put the "soul" into the story. I could not get past the first chapter and I am totally disappointed. Please understand it is not the accent but the intonation that's key.

I read this book years ago and was mesmerized. Now I have to purchase the print version to regain that feeling.

What did you like best about this story?

I have been unable to complete the first chapter of the audio book.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His intonation was a definite mismatch.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did not get that far.

Any additional comments?

Please re-record this book with an appropriate author

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Took a While But...

I had a very hard time getting into this book but once it caught, about 1/3 through, I was hooked. It is very simplistic writing which through me at first. But the style grew on me and the sheer conservation of words pierced me with the truths that come through every sentence.

Yes, I highly, highly recommend this book.

Chris Reich

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Relentless read , good but not any fun

I had to read it and it’s literary value is unquestionable. It was a constant assault. I didn’t want to know more but I had to. It reads like history, mostly uncomfortable but necessary for your growth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

No-relief kind of story. Amazing story-telling

Very enlightening on how perceptions can be everything. Respect to the author - timeless piece

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Narration

Would you try another book from Chinua Achebe and/or Peter Francis James?

The Narration took away a lot of the essence of the story. Intonation, pronunciation and so on was a bit flat in my view

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story...tragic end

Great story,tragic end,good narration too...The only let down os the pronounciation of the names and local words,it was really terrible,I couldn't recognise some of the names despite being igbo,extra efforts should've been made to get that right,it took away a lot from the lovely story

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Art of story telling at its best

Loved it! Captures the richness in igbo culture and some of the influences of missionaries

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • Rock Hill, SC, United States
  • 08-06-13

Ready or Not, Things Can Fall Apart

If you could sum up Things Fall Apart in three words, what would they be?

Sacrifice, Obedience, Life

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ezinma was a character who, in this setting, stood out as different. Her mother treated her equally; her father treated her as his favorite. She is a central figure in the changes occuring within the structure of this story. Ikemufuna is also interesting within this story.

Which scene was your favorite?

The marriage was interesting. The missionaries entering into the area and onto the land where this tribe had been existing for many years.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, and I would do it again.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A classic!

Where does Things Fall Apart rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This interpretation ranks near the top of the titles I have listened to.

What other book might you compare Things Fall Apart to and why?

1984. A must-read 20th century classic must-read.

Which character – as performed by Peter Francis James – was your favorite?

Okonkwo.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to it in several sittings and while walking and driving.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very well read

Would you listen to Things Fall Apart again? Why?

This novel would not be my first choice of novels, but I had no choice, it was an assignment. That being said, the story was very well performed, and it helped me with getting past all the difficult names. Now I will not be afraid to read the actual print version of the novel, and I will at least have some idea what the story is about. I recommend this read if you are interested in African cultures.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Luke Beckett
  • 07-23-16

Not my first choice for narrator

Great story, beautifully told and vividly described.
I'd just have preferred a narrator able to give a more authentic sounding voice to the characters... The audiobook of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche was a great example of a story about Nigerian people, with tastefully done, real sounding characters. Not this grave sounding American accent for the main man in the story...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anthony
  • 02-15-13

African classic

Excellent decades-old book offering insights into colonial penetration of Africa and how Christianity took hold. Insights also into local cultures, social mores and how communities were organised and structured to maintain a degree of peace and harmony and how traditional and modern worlds collided. An enjoyable and interesting African classic!



Despite being well read, a Nigerian narrator would have added value to the recording.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-13-17

Worth a listen

The book is worth a listen as it transports you to the life of this place on the cusp of irreversible change. However, the narrator was so incongruous to the story and this I found annoying. Did not like the delivery of this book particularly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 08-30-10

A great book from a great writer and a great man.

Refracted through the earlier work of Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness - to which Achebe took notable exception and the later and altogether wonderful 'Half of a Yellow Sun' (2006) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - I've been looking forward to reading Things Fall Apart for some time and am happy to report that it considerably exceeded expectations. Though written in the English, the early part of the novel explores in detail the demographics, geography and culture of the Igbo people, albeit through nine fictional tribes, with an authenticity and sure touch that is impossible not to enjoy and, indeed empathise with. Through the layers of this society - from their agriculture, through the interpersonal relationships to their socialised religion and individual root beliefs, a vivid and engaging picture is painted of a perfectly fleshed out cast of characters. This transcends anything that was ever on Conrad's agenda - though I would not necessarily agree that it is altogether correct to volley criticism at Conrad for this since his was a broadside aimed squarely at the Belgian Conquistadors - and is definitely the precursor to Adichie's modus operandi when portraying the Biafra of the 1960's. Being first is simply not enough, however, and to assert that this is the best, one has to look at the quality of the vision - best illustrated by the depth of understanding both of the Igbo people and the wider audience with whom Achebe engages. The simple illustration of Achebe's mastery is contained in the innumerable epigrams that seem to litter page after page much to my enjoyment - 'behind the smoke, you can easily glimpse the flames,' 'the man who makes trouble for others, makes trouble for himself' and on and on... In summary, this is a great book from a great writer and a great man.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Judy Corstjens
  • 08-28-13

Dispatches from the Stone Age

I find this book amazing because it is (almost) a first hand account of humans living in close to a stone age culture. Chinua Achebe was born into a Nigerian village in 1930 and, luckily for us, was brought up bilingual English. He set his novel end of 19th century - so based on characters and cultures that he knew first hand or via relatives. It is the sort of time relationship Margaret Mitchell had with the US civil war when she wrote Gone With the Wind. And here we have a culture without: writing or books, any idea of what is going on in the rest of the world, no school, no industry/specialisation, very little metal, very few institutions, and none above clan level: very little institutionalised religion, no banks, judicial system, standing armies, politicians, it is all very DIY, and in a sense meritocratic (you make your own way, on merit and luck; you are judged by your peers). It is also interesting what they do have: numbers - at least up to 400 (would that be 20x20, based on digits of a man?), and basic money (cowrie shells), including debt, women and children traded and beaten like dogs, a permanent, direct, personal relationship with spirits and gods, who aren't much help against a horrific mortality rate (especially for children under 6), even when placated by regular sacrifices of goat and chicken, and the occasional young man. As you would expect, a strong senses of 'what is right', but also very recognisable sets of emotions and behaviours - ideas of what is polite and what is crass, and emotional intelligence that is very recognisable. You are grown up at 15, and old at 45.

I dislike 'historical novels' such as Downton Abbey, or Cold Mountain, because they are fake (however well researched). I always feel the women say things like 'Gosh, I bet after the second world war women will be able to go into any profession they like,' with unreal prescience, but here when characters express their fears or hopes it feels authentic. Achebe is not imagining these people, they were his Uncles and Aunts.

A quick read (some problem recognising all those Igbo names, in Audio) and very highly recommended as an experience much deeper than a long haul holiday.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joyce kelly
  • 05-16-18

fabulous book and a sure CLASSIC!!!

Brilliantly written.
I have in fact read the book years ago (early teenage years) and I felt it was a good read but reading/listening to it again shed a different light to it. it reminded me of the actual TV series I watched as a kid, and more importantly how much of the african culture was forcefully oppressed.
loved it!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alban
  • 05-03-18

Great short novel

This is the novel that I read when I was very young, 20 years ago. It is all I needed to realize that God is a man made construct and how ancient deities had lost to monotheistic religions.

I would recommend it as an interesting read beyond the benefit of reading it from the point of view religion or God.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • emma
  • 09-14-17

captivating and powerful!

A captivating and powerful story beautifully narrated. I would really recommend this excellent book !

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Suswati
  • 09-10-17

How cultures are misconstrued and misunderstood

This book is intriguing for the fact that there is massive emphasis on pre-colonial times rather than post-colonisation in Nigeria. In this way you're able to gauge how much of a culture clash and cultural misinterpretation there is on the part of the white settlers. It is also written by someone who is of Nigerian descent which makes it all the more interesting as many of the books were written from a western perspective during this time.

It is a book about change and tradition in which protagonist Okonkwo befalls many trials and tribulations in order to appease both his heritage and live side by side with the new ideals of Christianity. Alone, he was unable to withstand the forces of transformation. An important book for people to understand pre-missionary Nigeria.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-20-17

Fascinating insight to another culture and time

I chose this because of Chinua Achebe's reputation but really didn't know what to expect. I found it fascinating to learn of a culture I knew nothing about, and also the colonialism of the white man in Africa. Whilst I grew up in a colonial country, it was in Asia.