Reading Things Fall Apart
A Students’ Companion
Edited by Mala Pandurang


This Companion to Chinua Achebe’s pioneering novel Things Fall Apart, primarily designed for undergraduate students of English literature, attempts a lucid and perceptive critical account of this major postcolonial counter-narrative of twentieth century. Section One of this study, beginning with several broadsides on African/Nigerian literature, places Achebe’s oeuvre in general and Things Fall Apart in particular in a larger historical and cultural context. Further, it studies the structure of the novel, views its characters in relation to each other, and examines the work chapterwise as also in its totality, enhancing the textual grasp of the reader. Section Two carries quite some of the major critical insights by widely acknowledged critics of Achebe in general and of this ‘deceptively slim work of fiction’ in particular. The aspects of the novel that come under the scanner include traditions and cross-cultural encounters, discourse and counter- discourse, human relationships, treatment of gender in African/Igbo society, and the use of language. The volume concludes with the editor Mala Pandurang’s searching and refreshing comments on the experience, her own as well as that of her peers, of teaching Things Fall Apart in Indian classrooms.

Mala Pandurang , is Vice Principal, and Head of the Department of English at the Dr. BMN College, Mumbai. She was a postdoctoral fellow of the AVH Foundation (Germany) and has taught as Fulbright Visiting Professor in the University of Texas at Austin. She is the Reviews Editor of the Journal of South Asian Diaspora (Routledge, UK). Her publications include Postcolonial African Fiction: A Crisis of Consciousness (1977) Articulating Gender (ed.) (2000): Vikram Seth: Multiple Locations, Multiple Affiliations (2003), Mediating Indian Writing in English: German Responses (Co-ed) (2005, 2006): Chinua Achebe: An Anthology of Recent Criticism (ed.) (2006), Ngugi Wa Thiong’o: An Anthology of Recent Criticism (ed.) (2007) and African Women Novelists: Re-imaging Gender (Co-edited, 2010).


Deepna Rao, Lavanya Vardarajan, Mala Pandurang, Margaret Cox, Pauline Dodgson Katiyo, Roopali Sircar Gaur, Russell McDougall
ISBN 978-93-82178- 05-7             2015      136 pages      Rs. 200 (pb)