Chinua Achebe has written master works of fiction. That being said there are people (like @BreeWambui says she is) who don’t read fiction, I have no idea why but I respect their decision. Clearly I am not alone. This is the perfect book for one who wants to read non fiction from one of the kings of fiction.

The book takes us through the journey of Achebe’s life all in three elegant essays. Well, the back of the book described them as elegant and I really have no better word to describe how he writes in this book so we WILL go with elegant. Anyway, it is my review right? The essays, My Home Under Imperial Fire, The Empire Fights Back and Today, The Balance Of Stories, each give a unique perpective onAfrica and even better a insight on the man that is Chinua Achebe.

Funny thing though is that the book is only more or less a hundred pages long, not really as long as you would expect Achebe to give you on a normal day but that’s just the thing. It isn’t an autobiography, in fact it only touches on his early years. That being said, it is not that the hundred pages that Achebe gives you are less than adequate. In fact far from it. By virtue of the fact that he only has one hundred pages to work with Achebe makes sure that each page is jam packed with weaves so intricately woven that sometimes you aren’t sure if they are true or fiction. However, the back of the book says they are not fiction, so it must be true.

Of course now you look to me to say some clever words about how cleverly (or not) he uses his words and give an excerpt to support my claim. Worry not, I will not fail you. Achebe uses his words in such a narrative fashion in this book that although you are reading with your eyes you can almost always here a voice to the words. You can imagine someone telling you a story about some thing or the other and this person is telling you a story so captivating that even if you wanted to go to the loo you hold it in just so they can finish saying what they are saying. Another thing I noted is that he manages to use long, complicated words so well while at the same time not becoming overbearing with them as many writers who tend to become verbose with no particular point or reason do. This excerpt I think will kind of explain both the things I’m trying to say.

I make this digression merely to point out that though we were eager to get rid of white rule, we did not find it necessary to demonise white people – at least not at that stage. And the reason, I think, is that we were ignorant of the humdreds of years of sustained denigration we and our home had been subjected to in order to make our colonization possible and excusable.

All this time he has one overriding goal: Encouraging African writers to write about home. Why? Because it is home and it is our story and if we don’t tell your story for ourselves then, quite frankly, who will tell it for us? The European. Then we will complain about how all the stories aboutAfricaare of Safaris, Maasais and corrupt leaders.

 I have always held it to be true that Chinua Achebe can spin quite the yarn when he wants to and in this book, not only has he proven that he can wrote a very good story he has also shown that he can tell a great one as well.

About The Author

Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe (born 16 November 1930) popularly known as Chinua Achebe is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He is best known for his first novel and magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature.

Some scholars have suggested that Achebe has been shunned by intellectual society for criticising Conrad and traditions of racism in the West. Despite his scholarly achievements and the global importance of his work, Achebe has never received a Nobel Prize, which some observers view as unjust.

Home and Exile is available on Amazon.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Home and Exile by Chinua Achebe

  1. Good review. Seems like a nice read and I would attempt to see if he has juxtaposed (what does this word even mean?) some of the stories in The Education of A British Educated Child.

    A better idea would be to give a brief breakdown of each of the three essays.

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