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Arrow of God

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Ezeulu, headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. But he is beginning to find his authority increasingly under threat ? from his rivals in the tribe, from those in the white government and even from his own family. Yet he still feels he must be untouchable ? surely he is an arrow in the bow of his God? Armed with this belief, he i Ezeulu, headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. But he is beginning to find his authority increasingly under threat ? from his rivals in the tribe, from those in the white government and even from his own family. Yet he still feels he must be untouchable ? surely he is an arrow in the bow of his God? Armed with this belief, he is prepared to lead his people, even if it means destruction and annihilation. Yet the people will not be so easily dominated.Spare and powerful, Arrow of God is an unforgettable portrayal of the loss of faith, and the struggle between tradition and change. Continuing the epic saga of the community in Things Fall Apart, it is the second volume of Achebe?s African trilogy, and is followed by No Longer at Ease.


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Ezeulu, headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. But he is beginning to find his authority increasingly under threat ? from his rivals in the tribe, from those in the white government and even from his own family. Yet he still feels he must be untouchable ? surely he is an arrow in the bow of his God? Armed with this belief, he i Ezeulu, headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. But he is beginning to find his authority increasingly under threat ? from his rivals in the tribe, from those in the white government and even from his own family. Yet he still feels he must be untouchable ? surely he is an arrow in the bow of his God? Armed with this belief, he is prepared to lead his people, even if it means destruction and annihilation. Yet the people will not be so easily dominated.Spare and powerful, Arrow of God is an unforgettable portrayal of the loss of faith, and the struggle between tradition and change. Continuing the epic saga of the community in Things Fall Apart, it is the second volume of Achebe?s African trilogy, and is followed by No Longer at Ease.

30 review for Arrow of God

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    I liked this book the best among Achebe’s African Trilogy. It’s a novel that chronicles Igbo tribal life in the 1920’s, fracturing under its own human frailties and prejudices, and stoked into decline by the British colonial incursion. Unlike in Things Fall Apart, there is no glossary of local words and customs, and yet there is a lot of local flavour here: poetry, quotes, customs and festivals described in elaborate detail. I felt as if Achebe was trying to write the African novel in English, un I liked this book the best among Achebe’s African Trilogy. It’s a novel that chronicles Igbo tribal life in the 1920’s, fracturing under its own human frailties and prejudices, and stoked into decline by the British colonial incursion. Unlike in Things Fall Apart, there is no glossary of local words and customs, and yet there is a lot of local flavour here: poetry, quotes, customs and festivals described in elaborate detail. I felt as if Achebe was trying to write the African novel in English, unfettered by western conventions of novel-craft. Many characters, especially from protagonist Ezeulu’s large family and tribe, are introduced all at once, Igbo words pepper the African side of the narrative, and the dialogue is heavy with analogy: “When a house falls, do you ask if the ceiling falls with it?” or “The fly that has no one to advise it follows the corpse to the grave,” or “The inquisitive monkey gets a bullet in the face.” Many pages are given away to depict quotidian life in a household or village. And yet, when Achebe swings over to the Englishman’s POV, the style changes to a more formal British one; I was reminded of Graham Greene’s lost colonials upholding the far reaches of Empire with liberal doses of alcohol, idealism and guilt. Ezeulu is the Chief Priest of Umuaru, an agglomeration of six distinct tribes that formed an uneasy union to fend off other marauding tribes. He is tasked with calling the dates for important festivals like the planting and the harvesting of yams. He rules his family—comprised of multiple wives and many children—like a dictator, and yet feels that, due to his contrarian views, he is losing his grip on the larger tribe. He is a pacifist while the tribe is prone to fighting. He believes in learning about the British and their ways by educating one of his sons in a Christian school, a move that does not sit well with the rest of the tribe. And yet he is proven right as events unfold, and the tribe holds a grudging respect for him. The British meanwhile are upsetting the governance structure of the traditional African tribe by appointing local Paramount Chiefs who will be tow their line. Due to his independent thinking and pro-British stance, Ezuelu is summoned by local British head, Captain Winterbotham, to be appointed Paramount Chief of Umuaru. Resisting British incursion into what is deemed as local domain, Ezeulu refuses, and this sets off a chain of unfortunate events for both men. Achebe does not favour either side in this novel. The British appear misguided in their understanding of the African, interpreting events from their narrowed lens; the native appears to possess an elemental cruelty that the European has difficulty understanding. The African Igbo appear as warlike, ruled by strange customs and traditions (try eating Kola nuts smeared in each other’s blood to signify bonding), susceptible to alcoholism, and open to corruption. Where the opening of a new road between the fighting Umuaru and Okperi is considered progress to the British, the Igbo walking that road feel like “a grain of maize in an empty goatskin bag.” Ezeulu’s fate, not unlike the Okonkwos in the first two novels of this trilogy, is destined not only to fall under the weight of the British occupation but to see that fall exacerbated by the ignorance and prejudices of his own people. I can understand why Achebe was considered the conscience of his continent, and to avoid the fate of the Ezeulus and the Okonkwos, why he had to live out his last days in America.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kavita

    Once more, Achebe has succeeded in writing a story that had me living in a very different world for a while. Arrow of God is not about the delightful (not!) Okonkwo nor the honest and upright (not!) Obi Okonkwo. Instead, Achebe has told the story of a completely different family, in no way related to the Okonkwos (can we say that?). It is the story of a completely different tribe with different customs and rituals. Ezeulu is the chief priest of Ulu, a god that binds six villages together. He take Once more, Achebe has succeeded in writing a story that had me living in a very different world for a while. Arrow of God is not about the delightful (not!) Okonkwo nor the honest and upright (not!) Obi Okonkwo. Instead, Achebe has told the story of a completely different family, in no way related to the Okonkwos (can we say that?). It is the story of a completely different tribe with different customs and rituals. Ezeulu is the chief priest of Ulu, a god that binds six villages together. He takes his duties seriously and tries to do his job conscientiously. Is that enough when six entire villages look to you for their welfare? No, some common sense is also required. In the end, Ezeulu destroys himself as well as his villages, in the process destroying the religion itself. The story has different thematic layers to it, and I am still not sure I grasped them all. Brilliant work, as usual. The book explores the rigidity of religion and how it can destroy people. If religion is important for some people, then so is flexibility in its interpretation. Another theme is how the missionaries waited like vultures to pounce on the people the moment they were dissatisfied with the rigidity of their own religion, unlikely to understand that they were just exchanging one superstition for another. The blunders of British colonial rule have also been explored. While the British patted themselves on the back on how good a job they were doing for the locals, they were slowly and steadily destroying an entire civilisation, preventing it from progressing on its own in a way more suited to the local environment. But despite the exploration of all these overarching themes, the core of the book remains the story - as it should be. Much too often authors tend to hammer their point home instead of working on their plots. One reason why I think Achebe is a much superior writer to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, even though I am much more in sympathy with the latter's works because she also includes feminist ideas in her book, which Achebe doesn't touch. I don't think Achebe is a deliberate misogynist, however. I think he just depicted the harsh treatment of women in tribal life accurately. Arrow of God is a comprehensive look at tribal life after the arrival of missionaries. The characters are rich and vibrant, the depiction of daily life is lush and detailed, and the quirks of Nigerian English fully came across in the dialogues. The dialogues were peppered with African aphorisms, which just made me feel even closer to these people. It is a bit of a hard read because of this but fully worth your while. I think I would need to read these books again, several times, in fact, to get more out of them. But I'll never read them for the first time again. And that's really sad.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    Read it because it was listed as one of Adichie's favourite books. The story is somewhat like 'Things Fall Apart' in that it narrates a story of the rise and, later, fall of a man due to values changing under a challenge from colonial rule - only this time it was a religious leader, instead of a warrior/farmer. The reading experience was greatly enhanced from my having read Carl Jung's 'Man and His Symbols'. To begin with, Jung had much to say about the masks and their impact on personality and th Read it because it was listed as one of Adichie's favourite books. The story is somewhat like 'Things Fall Apart' in that it narrates a story of the rise and, later, fall of a man due to values changing under a challenge from colonial rule - only this time it was a religious leader, instead of a warrior/farmer. The reading experience was greatly enhanced from my having read Carl Jung's 'Man and His Symbols'. To begin with, Jung had much to say about the masks and their impact on personality and the group dances in which everyone seems to be in frenzy. I bet Jung would have loved the book - especially the relationships between the people in the book and their gods. The protagonist, Ezeulu is constantly holding conversations with his god - which might be called hallucination but Jung would have called it conversing with one's collective consciousness. Because apart from these conversations with his god, Ezeulu can be considered normal. Moreover, people actually want him to hold conversations with the god Even more interesting is the way in which people can discard gods who have failed to behave aptly and accept the protection of new gods. Gods do not have the right to punish people unjustly. This change of gods according to needs of society seems to correspond to Jung's ideas - the change in conscious beliefs for the 'primitive' tribes to be in harmony to change in needs of their collective unconscious. Jung believed that most of the modern people's existential crisis arises exactly because of the lack of such harmony. And there are of course proverbial expressions which is one of the best things about Achebe's writings: "A man might pick his way with the utmost care through a crowded market but find that the hem of his cloth had upset and broken another’s wares; in such a case the man, not his cloth, was held to repair the damage." "He forgot the saying of the elders that if a man sought for a companion who acted entirely like himself he would live in solitude." "A man who asks questions does not lose his way."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shuhan Rizwan

    Better than 'Things fall apart' in some aspects. Includes some beautifully crafted passages.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    I had a fiendishly difficult time with this book, which I found odd because Things Fall Apart was like reading water, and even A Man of the People was engaging and straightforward. But although I loved what Achebe did in Arrow of God, I had a really hard time actually reading the damn thing. I'm pretty sure that the fault was with me - I don't know enough about the Igbo, I find proverbs irritating, my brain is lately in other places - because I could sense some of the power of the novel, but was I had a fiendishly difficult time with this book, which I found odd because Things Fall Apart was like reading water, and even A Man of the People was engaging and straightforward. But although I loved what Achebe did in Arrow of God, I had a really hard time actually reading the damn thing. I'm pretty sure that the fault was with me - I don't know enough about the Igbo, I find proverbs irritating, my brain is lately in other places - because I could sense some of the power of the novel, but was ultimately unable to experience it. It was like reading a book through a shop window. Siiiigh.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Arrow of God (1964) Chinua Achebe Last summer I read Things Fall Apart which is the first of a trilogy by C. Achebe. Arrow of God is the third. I literally couldn’t put it down. Again, this is a novel about the struggle between old ways and new; tradition and change. It’s set in the 1920s. Here too a son is ‘sacrificed’ and sent to the White man’s school/church to learn his language and ways. Arrow of God may essentially be the story of a chief priest, his wives and children and the patterns of ev Arrow of God (1964) Chinua Achebe Last summer I read Things Fall Apart which is the first of a trilogy by C. Achebe. Arrow of God is the third. I literally couldn’t put it down. Again, this is a novel about the struggle between old ways and new; tradition and change. It’s set in the 1920s. Here too a son is ‘sacrificed’ and sent to the White man’s school/church to learn his language and ways. Arrow of God may essentially be the story of a chief priest, his wives and children and the patterns of everyday life in the community of six villages, but at the root of all of that are the universal characteristics of human nature. All too often, individuals, and here both the British and Umuaro are portrayed, tend to be petty; jealous; quick to take offence; full of self-importance and have inflated egos; the consequences of an action are often overlooked…. However, respect, generosity, friendship and love are also present. Bureaucracy, too plays it’s part: The fault of our Administration is that they invariably appoint the wrong people and set aside the advice of those of us who have been here for years (Winterbottom p.110) As Achebe has said, My politics is concerned with universal communication across racial and cultural boundaries as a means of fostering respect for all people…. As long as one people sit on another and are deaf to their cry, so long will understanding and peace elude all of us. http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-li... Language What particularly intrigued me was Achebe’s use of language. This would be a great text to use with students of English, in particular with students in Mediazione or translation – the power of words, the role played by intermediaries and their responsibility; problems of misinterpretations – so many due to cultural misunderstandings (see in particular chapter 14). Again, as in Things Fall Apart there is the integration of native vocabulary and forms, i.e.: His obi was built differently from other men’s huts. (p.1) In places, the wording is a little awkward, the syntax somewhat unexpected or the use of certain words rather odd, all of which contributes to a very definite idea of African English – you are aware of different culture, i.e., True? Where you might expect, Really? Davvero? Simple sayings of great wisdom, old wives’ tales, and idiomatic expressions which are found in Things Fall Apart are repeated throughout Arrow of God; .. if a man sought for a companion who acted entirely like himself he would live in solitude (p94). … he is a fool who treats his brother worse than a stranger (p96). Have you not heard that when two brothers fight a stranger reaps the harvest? (p132) I had great fun trying to find equivalent idiomatic expressions: A man who brings home ant-infested faggots should not complain if he is visited by lizards. If you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. Let us first chase away the wild cat, afterwards we blame the hen. Let’s not put the cart before the horse. I do not blame you for wanting to bale that water before it rises above the ankle. nip sth in the bud A toad does not run in the daytime unless something is after it no smoke without fire Did not our elders tell us that as soon as we shake hands with a leper he will want an embrace? give an inch take a mile You indeed walked into the mouth of a leopard. lion’s den Akuebue [was] wondering how best to lead on to the object of his coming. […] he decided to split it open with one blow of the matchet as the people of Nsugbe were said to split their coconut. take the bull by the horns I can smell a poisoner as clearly as I can a leper smell a rat … foolish for a man to spit out a morsel which fortune had placed in his mouth. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth/hand that feeds you … he trembles and passes premature shit. gets the shits We have not wrestled; we have merely studied each other’s hand. sized each other up That was the terror of the puff-adder; it would suffer every provocation, it would even let its enemy step on its trunk; it must wait and unlock its seven fangs one after the other. Then it would say to its tormentor: Here I am! bide your time A man must dance the dance prevalent in his time, product of our times The noise even of the loudest events must begin to die down by the second market week. time heals all A snake is never as long as the stick to which we liken its length. fishing stories … someone was talking into his talk. Please do not speak into my words. interrupting I shall sit here until I have seen the head and the tail of this matter. get to the bottom of sth age mates same generation/peers ... Unusual images The moon he saw that day was as thin as an orphan fed grudgingly by a cruel foster-mother. (p1) His breath seemed to be scraping his sides with a blunt razor. (p113) His breath was like the splitting of hard wood. (p115) When he took his wife to his hut after the sacrifice, would he find her at home – as the saying was – or would he learn with angry humiliation that another had broken in and gone off with his prize? (p119) Unless the penis dies young it will surely eat bearded meat. (p144) Ezeulu could watch that part of the sky where the moon had its door. (p146) You may go with him if your feet are hungry for a walk. (p146) They looked at him like rats gnawing away at the sole of a sleeper’s foot, biting and then blowing air on the wound to soothe it, and lull the victim back to sleep. (p146) Won’t you wait and watch the face of the sky awhile? (p147) … search for the door of the new moon. (p161) Our eyes see something; we take a stone and aim at it. But the stone rarely succeeds like the eye in hitting the mark. (p172) I had some difficulty with names – knowing how to pronounce them might have helped; a little like reading a Russian novel in that way. Definitely planning to read No Longer at Ease – second volume of the trilogy. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/referen...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Elkholy

    تانى رواية لى مع كاتب الرائعة "الاشياء تتداعى",تشينوا أتشيبي عنده قدرة على الوصف رهيبه مجرد مبتفتح غلاف رواية أنت تفتح نافذة تنظر به الى أفريقيا ,تفتح باب تعبر به الى نواحى القارة المظلومة,ياخد أتشيبى فى رحله فى قارية من قرى النيجر ,تتعرف على العادات والتقاليد والعقائد تتعرف على الرجل الابيض الذى جاء ليهدم كل شى ء,تعرف أن افريقيا قبل الاستعمار كان بها نظم للحكم وللدين ولتنظيم كل شىء,ثم تتعرف على الكثير من الحكم الافريقية

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jack Kruse

    I was first struck by how funny this novel was. I guffawed several times while reading it. It takes a remarkable writer to do this with humor, especially across cultures. I thought this work illustrated well the role of religion in society. For the Igbo there was no separation of religion from society--they were one and the same. It's perhaps fitting that while the administration doesn't quite get this (Clarke doesn't even understand that a Chief Priest is not the same as a medicine man) , the mi I was first struck by how funny this novel was. I guffawed several times while reading it. It takes a remarkable writer to do this with humor, especially across cultures. I thought this work illustrated well the role of religion in society. For the Igbo there was no separation of religion from society--they were one and the same. It's perhaps fitting that while the administration doesn't quite get this (Clarke doesn't even understand that a Chief Priest is not the same as a medicine man) , the missionaries do, ultimately manipulating the villages to connect Christianity to their harvest. Achebe does a superb job humanizing Ezeulu in the story, so that the reader forgets that he is truly half-spirit. This makes Ulu's command to stay the course of revenge near the conclusion all the more shocking. There is no option for Ezeulu to do anything else. At the other end of the spectrum, the reader witnesses the death of the Umuaro society in their necessary drive to survive by finding a way to harvest. Similarly, it would have meant the death of Ezeulu (at least culturally) had he accepted the Chief position since his society isn't structured to be ruled (with the exception of the quasi-king that first had to pay everyone debts). Instead Ezeulu chooses the path of self-destruction. From the British colonial perspective, Achebe shows the tension of indirect rule and their priorities. Clarke and Captain Winterbottom discuss all the money spent on native courts (that they natives won't use) and the void of funding for infrastructure like roads. This is important because one could argue that it is these roads that enable the homogenization of the Igbo people and subjugate a shared identity onto them. FOLLOWING ARE MY NOTES FOR THE GRAD SCHOOL COURSE IN WHICH WE READ THIS NOVEL. More notes are available on my blog For Unofficial Use Only. Arrow of God Notes: -Humor that the English think they understand the people, but they still don't despite prolonged presence...parallels to our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan - Advantages of living near the infrastructure - In direct rule seeks lighter hand by default...goal is more to maintain a status quo of peace - Comments on missionary role by Capt W? - Influence of infrastructure on Igbo...shifting from a language group to an identity - with regards to religion, subtleties in the region...a priest chief is not necessarily a medicine man. Religion is the same as the society...there's no delineation as in Western culture. Ezeulu- Chief Priest of Ulu Matefi- Ezeulu's senior wife Ugoye- Ezeulu's younger wife Okuata- Ezeulu's wife that is dead Edogo- Eldest son of Ezeulu, and Okuata Obika- son of Ezeulu (drunk and troublesome and handsome) and Ugoye Nwafo- youngest son of Ezeulu (his favorite) and Ugoye Obiageli- daughter of Ezeulu (sister of Nwafo) and Ugoye Ojiugo- daughter of Ezeulu and Matefi Akueke- daughter of Ezeulu and Okuata Oduche- Ezeulu's son CHAPTER 1 Ezeulu (Chief Priest of Ulu) introduction as he looks to the sky for the new moon (which he must announce). Ezeulu's announcements control the harvest seasons, most importantly the New Yam Feast. Edogo carves ancestral masks. Ezeulu is bitter about division among the six villages because he spoke the truth to the white man and testified against his people about land dispute with Okperi. Obika beats up and humiliates Akueke husband who had been beating her. Oduche is training with the whites per Ezeulu's instructions. CHAPTER 2 6 Villages come together and call for war against the Okperi (led by Nwaka). Akukalia is killed when Umuaro messengers lose their temper. War ensues with retaliatory killings. Then the whiteman intervenes and judges the land to belong to Okperi. He also breaks all their guns. CHAPTER 3 Captain Winterbottom is introduced and Tony Clark as his assistant. He recounts their version of the Umuaro-Okperi wars which are different from reality. Captain Winterbottom believe in the value of native institutions but is forced to enforce indirect rule. Ibos never developed a system of central authority. CHAPTER 4 Enmity of Nwaka and Ezeulu is revealed. Oduche was given to learn the ways of the whiteman's church. Oduche put a python in a box, which Ezeulu finds and frees; scandal ensues. Ezidemelli (Nwaka's friend and python priest) asks what he will do to purify his home. CHAPTER 5 Winterbottom doesn't believe indirect rule is effective but most obey his superiors. "Great tragedy of British colonial administration was that the man on the spot (who knew his African) and knew what he was talking about found himself being constantly overruled by starry-eyed fellows at headquarters. Ibos detest kings, but Ikedi makes himself one as a puppet of the administration--he's very corrupt. CHAPTER 6 Akueke's inlaws come for her and promise not to let husband beat her--Ezeulu agrees to this. CHAPTER 7 Purification day for the six villages. Ugoye has the most ivory of Ezeulu's wives. Nwaka's wives has most ivory. Ezeulu does the purification dance. Women gossip. CHAPTER 8 Mr. Wright needs unpaid labor to finish his road and gets it from the Umuaro. Obika is late (because he was drunk) to the road work party and gets whipped. In the ensuing controversy Moses acts as an intermediary. Ezeulu tries to get to the bottom of what happens and his sons show no remorse. The death that will kill a man begins as an appetite. CHAPTER 9 Akuebe visits Ezeulu to talk about Obika and the lack of respect of the youth in general. Pride of Umuaro that they never see one party as right and the other as wrong. CHAPTER 10 Background on Capt W (including his soldiering in Cameroon) and how his wife ran off with someone else. Capt W expresses disgruntlement at the bureaucracy and their flawed administrative appointments. Capt W and Clarke dine. Clarke and Wright are friends and no one ever investigates whipping. Capt W intends to make Ezeulu paramount chief. Idea of institutions vs. Infrastructures is addressed with administration spending all the money on native courts but not enough on roads. Most Africans aren't using the courts either (or at least willingly). CHAPTER 11 Ezeulu visits Akuebe where a man is sick. Ezeulu asks him what the man did to deserve the sickness. Obika and Okuata wed. The medicine man keeps the chicken from the ceremony (which he isn't supposed to do). Ezeulu hopes Obika is a changed man. CHAPTER 12 Edogo talks to Akuebe and feigns disinterest in being chosen to succeed his father. Oduche gets in fight with Obija about the python. Ezeulu says that Oduche is a sacrifice from the people to Akuebe. Capt W sends messengers to tell Ezeulu to come see him. Ezeulu says no, I will send my son Edogo. No one however great can win judgment against a clan. CHAPTER 13 Ezeulu calls all the village leaders to talk about being summoned. Nwaka jabs at him over his `friendship' with the whiteman. Ezeulu is unaffected (at least outwardly) by it. Capt W sends for Ezeulu to be arrested and falls ill. Guards come to arrest Ezeulu but they miss him because he already left to come in. The eat, take a bribe and leave. Ezeulu arrives at headquarters and everyone things he cast a spell to make Capt W sick. He likes this. CHAPTER 14 Obika returns home and Ezeulu has a vision in prison. He starts to plot his revenge. Ezeulu's family comes to visit him. He's offered the position of Chief and refuses it. The advantages of getting in with the whiteman early are discussed. Clarkes calls him a `witch doctor" highlighting the levels of misunderstanding culturally. CHAPTER 15 Ezeulu is in prison 32 days and his reputation soars as he still refuses the offer. He's then released. Capt W and Clarke get a message from the administration stating that they reserved the adverse report on indirect rule but any change in policy will have to come from the governor. They are directed to maintain the status quo but not appoint any new chiefs. CHAPTER 16 Ezeulu returns home, enjoying the suffering and plotting his revenge. He reconsiders his revenge due to all the nice people coming to visit him. Ezeulu is told by Ulu that he can't reconsider, he's an arrow of god against Idemelli and the python god. Ezeulu remarks that he is half man and half spirit. He wonders if his boy is also an arrow. CHAPTER 17 Life returns to normal in the village. A new ancestral mask is introduced. Obika slaughters the ram in the ceremony and Edogo carvest he mask. CHAPTER 18 Feast of New Yam approaches and Ezeulu plots his revenge. He's questioned by lots of people for delaying the announcement. He rebukes them. The elders come and ask him to ask Ulu how they can appease him so that they can have their yam harvest. Ulu says no. Ezeulu is despised by his people Goodcountry says if they give church a yam they can harvest their fields and he will protect them from Ulu. The best way to deal with whiteman is to know him (so they send their kids to his school). CHAPTER 19 People are starving. Ezeulu is shunned and lonely. Obika has a fever but goes to dance in a burial ceremony and dies. Ezeulu is ruined. People go to Goodcountry so they can harvest.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    Στο τρίτο μέρος της αφρικανικής τριλογίας αλλάζουμε εντελώς σκηνικό και μεταφερόμαστε σε ένα άλλο χωριό της γης των Ίμπο, σε μία Νιγηρία όπου οι λευκοί έχουν τον πλήρη έλεγχο της κατάστασης αλλά ακόμα δεν έχουν επιβληθεί πολιτισμικά σε κάθε γωνιά της. Σε αυτό το χωριό επιμένουν ακόμα παραδοσιακά, λατρεύοντας τους θεούς τους και ακολουθώντας τα πανάρχαια έθιμα τους, κάτω από την επίβλεψη του αρχιερέα του χωριού που δε θέλει με κανέναν τρόπο να παραδώσει τα όπλα στη νέα θρησκεία. Φυσικά το έργο τ Στο τρίτο μέρος της αφρικανικής τριλογίας αλλάζουμε εντελώς σκηνικό και μεταφερόμαστε σε ένα άλλο χωριό της γης των Ίμπο, σε μία Νιγηρία όπου οι λευκοί έχουν τον πλήρη έλεγχο της κατάστασης αλλά ακόμα δεν έχουν επιβληθεί πολιτισμικά σε κάθε γωνιά της. Σε αυτό το χωριό επιμένουν ακόμα παραδοσιακά, λατρεύοντας τους θεούς τους και ακολουθώντας τα πανάρχαια έθιμα τους, κάτω από την επίβλεψη του αρχιερέα του χωριού που δε θέλει με κανέναν τρόπο να παραδώσει τα όπλα στη νέα θρησκεία. Φυσικά το έργο του ήρωά μας δεν είναι ιδιαίτερα εύκολο καθώς έχει να αντιμετωπίσει όχι μόνο την πολιτισμική πίεση των αποικιοκρατών αλλά και την δυσπιστία των συγχωριανών του, συμπεριλαμβανομένης της οικογένειας του. Ο ίδιος, βέβαια, δεν πτοείται και προσπαθεί με διπλωματικούς τρόπους και διάφορα τεχνάσματα να τους κρατήσει στον παραδοσιακό τρόπο ζωής. Γρήγορα, όμως, καταλαβαίνει ότι αυτό που κάνει είναι σαν να προσπαθεί να σταματήσει το ποτάμι με τα δυο του χέρια καθώς οι λευκοί - που ο συγγραφέας μπαίνει στον κόπο να μας παρουσιάσει και τη δική τους οπτική - είναι αποφασισμένοι να προχωρήσουν σε αυτό που θεωρούν εκπολιτισμό της περιοχής. Οπότε αυτό που έχουμε είναι μία ιστορία της επερχόμενης ήττας και του μετασχηματισμού ένας τρόπου ζωής στα νέα δεδομένα καθώς όπως λέει μία παροιμία τους: πρέπει να χορεύουμε το χορό της κάθε εποχής. Αυτό όμως που μένει στο τέλος είναι η περιγραφή αυτού του τρόπου ζωής που χάθηκε, με υπέροχες περιγραφές των εθίμων, με πολύ ενημερωτική αναφορά στην νοοτροπία τους και φυσικά με ακόμα περισσότερες παροιμίες των Ίμπο. Εν κατακλείδι αυτό που μπορώ να πω για αυτό το βιβλίο αλλά και για τα προηγούμενα δύο αυτής της τριλογίας είναι ότι μου προσέφεραν ένα γοητευτικό ταξίδι σε αυτή τη γωνιά του κόσμου και μία αρκετά διαφωτιστική ανάλυση για αυτό που της συνέβη και επηρεάζει το παρόν της.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ben Dutton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Arrow of God - often paired with Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, as part of The African Trilogy - is a book with a troubled gestation and a difficult publishing history. Achebe had planned, as I noted in the review of No Longer at Ease, to originally compose a trilogy (giving substance to the decision to create The African Trilogy) but Arrow of God is not the third part of Achebe’s trilogy. Whereas Okonkwo and Obi Okonkwo (hero of Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease respectively) ar Arrow of God - often paired with Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, as part of The African Trilogy - is a book with a troubled gestation and a difficult publishing history. Achebe had planned, as I noted in the review of No Longer at Ease, to originally compose a trilogy (giving substance to the decision to create The African Trilogy) but Arrow of God is not the third part of Achebe’s trilogy. Whereas Okonkwo and Obi Okonkwo (hero of Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease respectively) are grandfather and grandson, the hero of Arrow of God, Ezeulu, has no biological connection to these men nor does he even belong to their tribe. Even Achebe admitted in his introduction to the Picador edition of the trilogy, that Arrow of God “is not the missing story of my father’s generation.” (p.11) So if Arrow of God is not the novel he was expected to write, nor does it now exist as Achebe originally published it. I do not know when Achebe revised this book, but the second copyright inscription is ten years after its first publication, in 1974. In his preface to the second edition, reprinted in the Picador edition, Achebe offers this by way of explanation: “I have become aware of certain structural weaknesses in it which I now take the opportunity of a new edition to improve.” (P.317) Without the original edition to compare I cannot make further comment upon this. The story of Arrow of God is closer in tone to Things Fall Apart than No Longer at Ease, taking us as it does to 1920s Nigeria, to a country where the white man’s presence is no longer just felt, but lived under. The tribespeople that we last saw in Things Fall Apart ostensively (for the most part) stick to their traditions, but have come to a compromise with the “fetish” of the white man. They are a Christian people with pagan ways. Achebe describes it thus: “It is an enrichment of the old story of Africa in its initial struggle for its land and mind against the ruthless invaders from the West.” (p.11) The white men who have come to Nigeria have not changed much from the district commissioner, George Allen (from Things Fall Apart) whose book The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger is required reading for Arrow of God’s Captain Winterbottom. The book says: “For those in search of a strenuous life, for those who can deal with men as others deal with material, who can grasp great situations, coax events, shape destinies and ride the crest of the wave of time, Nigeria is holding out her hands.” (P.352) Nigeria is not just a country to pacify and convert; it is a proving ground for the white man. Captain Winterbottom, arriving in Africa late, has missed much of this, for “the work of pacification was done in these parts” (P.351) but he is not beyond resorting to those methods again. As he says to a new recruit who believes in methods of compassion and understanding of the native culture: “I see you are one of the progressive ones. When you’ve been here as long as Allen was and understood the native a little more you might begin to see things in a different light. If you saw, as I did, a man buried up to his neck with a piece of roast yam on his head to attract vultures you know… well never mind. We British are a curious bunch, doing everything half-heartedly. Look at the French. They are not ashamed to teach their culture to backward races under their charge. Their attitude to the native ruler is clear. They say to him: “This land has belonged to you because you have been strong enough to hold it. By the same token it now belongs to us. If you are not satisfied come out and fight us.”” (P.354 – 355) In the heart of this speech is the cause of the conflict that engulfs the district of Umuaro. Against Captain Winterbottom stands the Chief Priest Ezeulu, a man also not unfamiliar with dishing out petty cruelty to achieve ends: “Whenever they shook hands with him he tensed his arm and put all his power into the grip, and being unprepared for it they winced and recoiled with pain.” (P.319 – 320) What we witness through the course of this novel is the petty erosion of Umuaro culture, the subsuming of traditional ways by modern Western forms. It happens slowly, insidiously, without the people noting it. Only when it is too late do the people of Umuaro notice; Ezeulu says: “Let me ask you one question. Who bought the white man here? Was it Ezeulu? We went to war against Okperi who are our blood brothers over a piece of land which did not belong to us and you blame the white man for stepping in? Have you not heard that when two brothers fight a stranger reaps the harvest? How many white men went in the party that destroyed Abame? Do you know? Five… Five. Now have you ever heard that five people – even if their heads reached the sky – could overrun a whole clan? Impossible. With all their power and magic white men would not have overrun entire Olu and Igbo if we did not help them. Who showed them the way to Abame? They were not born there, how then did they find the way? We showed them and we are still showing them.” (p.454 – 455) The scene for an epic fight between these two men – Winterbottom and Ezeulu - is set. Only as in Things Fall Apart the resolution is not the one a Western audience might expect, in Arrow of God especially. It is this reason that led Angus Calder to suggest that Arrow of God succeeded Things Fall Apart, and that book he claimed to be the most important of the century. I personally feel that Arrow of God is a less successful novel, though it is still a very strong one. Achebe, as in his first novel, is very good at painting a portrait of a very different society, but whereas in Things Fall Apart there was a stark poetry, here there is a wealth of detail but to a lesser effect. The title Arrow of God comes from an Igbo proverb in which an event or a person is said to represent the will of God, and in the struggle and acquiescence of African traditions to Western ones, Ezeulu standing against it for the good of his people, is struck down. Before long, so will his land.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kjew

    This book is hard to like at times. Achebe is very unflattering to women.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Calzean

    There is a forbidding sadness throughout this book. The English are trying to implement their divide and conquer strategy to reinforce their power and control over the locals. Meanwhile Ezeulu the local Chief Priest tries to resist but is also the victim of his own culture and the prejudices between people and villages. There is no surprise as to which side wins. There was surprisingly a fair bit of humour in this book. As well as some beautiful prose, Igbo stories and beliefs and of course plent There is a forbidding sadness throughout this book. The English are trying to implement their divide and conquer strategy to reinforce their power and control over the locals. Meanwhile Ezeulu the local Chief Priest tries to resist but is also the victim of his own culture and the prejudices between people and villages. There is no surprise as to which side wins. There was surprisingly a fair bit of humour in this book. As well as some beautiful prose, Igbo stories and beliefs and of course plenty of racism and sexism. Achebe's three books in this series all have similar themes and collectively they plant the seeds of the chaos that will come when centre old cultures are forced to disown and devalue their traditional beliefs and are ruled by strangers.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    This book was a real chore for me - I have previously read Things Fall Apart and thought it was wonderful and so when my sons African Literature class was reading this book I decided to read along with the last volume of Achebe's trilogy. It really is a lot of the same thing - the clash of traditional Nigerian culture with the British Colonial culture. The edition that I read did not have a glossary nor any sort of family charts and so it was extremely difficult to figure out who was who and some This book was a real chore for me - I have previously read Things Fall Apart and thought it was wonderful and so when my sons African Literature class was reading this book I decided to read along with the last volume of Achebe's trilogy. It really is a lot of the same thing - the clash of traditional Nigerian culture with the British Colonial culture. The edition that I read did not have a glossary nor any sort of family charts and so it was extremely difficult to figure out who was who and some of the Nigerian words in the book. The book is a very deliberate read, which is fine with me, but the fact that I kept thinking that I had read this all before was evident throughout. Yes, we are a few more years into Colonial rule than in his first book, but the issues are the same and it is not until the end that we see any changes and even then the change comes not from the British Colonial authority but rather from the Christian Church. I understand why his first book in the trilogy won all the awards because by the time we get to this volume the book has a tired feeling to it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Apphia Barton

    I loved Things Fall Apart and I thought I would love this too. Reading Arrow of God felt like trodding an interminable journey. Later on I realised that my peeve was mainly with the format and layout of the copy I used than the content of the novel. Intriguing message(s) and themes - religion, community, change, leadership, revenge, tradition, familial relationships. Achebe develops characters and unfolds the plot of a story really well but parts of this novel felt disjointed and drawn out. Also, I loved Things Fall Apart and I thought I would love this too. Reading Arrow of God felt like trodding an interminable journey. Later on I realised that my peeve was mainly with the format and layout of the copy I used than the content of the novel. Intriguing message(s) and themes - religion, community, change, leadership, revenge, tradition, familial relationships. Achebe develops characters and unfolds the plot of a story really well but parts of this novel felt disjointed and drawn out. Also, after taking what feels like a year to finish reading Arrow of God, the ending felt a bit rushed and anti-climatic. Imagine trodding along the journey, slowly, patiently as the events and lives of the characters unfold only to suddenly reach a point where everything changes pace and then that's it ...that's the end. Well, that's how I felt.

  15. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    This year I decided to re-read some of my favorites and what I consider classics. I re-read Things Fall Apart, and in doing so I discovered that this book was a part of a trilogy, of course I had to read the entire series. Arrow of God felt a bit underwhelming for me, it also felt very repetitive at times. It was as if I was reading a lesser version of Things Fall Apart. I had a hard time remembering the characters or differentiating them. Overall this book felt very flat for me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deogratias Rweyemamu

    Chinua Achebe makes us Africans proud. With limited African literature, and writers to boot, I always relish coming across a good book with African narrative. I believe there are many stories that remain untold from our past since we had limited means to pass on these stories. Chinua Achebe's book has touched on the culture, customs, beliefs of native Nigerian people and how their stories were intertwined with the arrival of "white men" in early 20th century. On hindsight, some of the customs woul Chinua Achebe makes us Africans proud. With limited African literature, and writers to boot, I always relish coming across a good book with African narrative. I believe there are many stories that remain untold from our past since we had limited means to pass on these stories. Chinua Achebe's book has touched on the culture, customs, beliefs of native Nigerian people and how their stories were intertwined with the arrival of "white men" in early 20th century. On hindsight, some of the customs would appear as utter foolishness in the times that we live in. But I found most of the wisdom exercised in the village communities still holding today. For example: "A toad doesn't run in the day unless something is after it". Chinua's storytelling was also great on two fronts. He offered two different perspectives as he was telling his story, that of the native people and of the white men. There's always a danger in telling a single story, and he seemed to manage it well. Secondly, his story telling consisted of a long period of dull moments and ending with a bang! I find this always leaves a better memory. My favorite takeaway quotes: "When suffering knocks at your door and you say there's no seat left for him, he tells you not to worry because he brought his own stool". "As daylight chases away darkness so will the white man drive away all our customs." "When brothers fight to death a stranger inherits their father's estate"

  17. 4 out of 5

    Henry Ozogula

    Literature can often puzzle and startle one, including African literature - the way we receive and criticise books. A good example is Ghana's world class writer, Ayi Kwei Armah; the literary world keeps on praising him and his first novel, The beautyful ones are not yet born. Yet Armah was a young man, still developing, when the book came out, and critics did not seem to care about his subsequent, better works over the decades. This seems to be the case too with Achebe, whose first novel, Things Literature can often puzzle and startle one, including African literature - the way we receive and criticise books. A good example is Ghana's world class writer, Ayi Kwei Armah; the literary world keeps on praising him and his first novel, The beautyful ones are not yet born. Yet Armah was a young man, still developing, when the book came out, and critics did not seem to care about his subsequent, better works over the decades. This seems to be the case too with Achebe, whose first novel, Things fall apart, is always talked about and praised. Yet this one, Arrow of God, published many years after Things fall apart, is in many ways better and more mature than Things fall apart. Arrow of God is more mature and dense...here Achebe is at his best, displaying great knowledge of indigenous black characters, and also the white (imperial agents) characters too. There is a startling objectivity and detachment that one would not expect from an African (black) writer. Yet Achebe, like he did in Things fall apart, brilliantly goes to the heart of Igbo customs and proverbs throughout this work. The narrative is ultimately tragic of course - as one might expect from Achebe. But another brilliant creative work by the author

  18. 5 out of 5

    leynes

    It's somehow ironic how Achebe's personal favorite is by far my least favorite book in the trilogy. Arrow of God is definitely the most ambitious of the three, being by far the longest and the one deepest immersed into local culture and religious beliefs. “I have traveled in Olu and I Jahve traveled in Igbo, and I can tell you that there is no escape from the white man. He has come.” Personally, I didn't get much out of it. I didn't connect to any of the characters, found the plot incredibly con It's somehow ironic how Achebe's personal favorite is by far my least favorite book in the trilogy. Arrow of God is definitely the most ambitious of the three, being by far the longest and the one deepest immersed into local culture and religious beliefs. “I have traveled in Olu and I Jahve traveled in Igbo, and I can tell you that there is no escape from the white man. He has come.” Personally, I didn't get much out of it. I didn't connect to any of the characters, found the plot incredibly confusing and ultimately, was too disinterested in the subject of ancestral religion versus imported Christianity to truly care about the subject matter. The novel is set amongst the villages of the Igbo people in British Nigeria during the 1920s. The novel begins with a war between two neighboring regions of rural Igboland: Umuaro and Okperi. Though we don't know the boundaries of Okperi, we do know that Umuaro is made up of six villages. These six villages are linked by their worship of a common god, Ulu. Ezeulu, headstrong chief priest of the god Ulu, is worshipped by the six villages of Umuaro. But he is beginning to find his authority increasingly under threat - from his rivals in the tribe, from those in the white government and even from his own family. Yet he still feels he must be untouchable. Armed with this belief, he is prepared to lead his people, even if it means destruction and annihilation. Yet the people will not be so easily dominated. Ulu, the villages of Umuaro and Okperi, and the colonial officials are all fictional. But Nigeria in the 1920s was controlled by British Colonial authorities, indirect rule was tested as a governing strategy, and many of the Igbo people did abandon their traditional beliefs for Christianity. Therefore, the novel is considered a work of African literary realism. Arrow of God explores how Igbo spirituality and religious life dies an ignominious death when confronted by Christianity. Christianity is backed by the white man's military and political power. As a result, Christianity is also identified with the source of their power. When the people of Umuaro are faced with famine because the chief priest of Ulu refuses to break tradition, the catechist at the church offers protection so the people can harvest their yams. When Ezeulu's son Obika dies, the people interpret that as a sign that Ulu was punishing his priest. With Ezeulu's power broken, Umuaro turns to the Christian god for help. Arrow of God is not a quick read. Dialogue is rich with Igbo idioms, such as "a man who brings home ant-infested faggots should not complain if he is visited by lizards" and references to Igbo culture and language that are explained only through the context of the story, such as "it is very costly – the gourd may be ego-nese – but I shall pay. If you two drink three hornfuls each and still go home let it be my loss. But if not you must give me ego-neli whenever you come to your senses again." I was extremely irritated by some of the proverbs, especially since Achebe wouldn't stop writing about anuses (e.g. “ it was no more than the power in the anus of the proud dog ”, “a man who knows that his anus is small does not swallow an udala seed”, etc.) and in general, his writing seemed a lot more blunt than in the other two books. I mean I am all here for characters telling each other to "eat shit" but it also made the narrative seem a lot more immature than it should have. Overall, I didn't appreciate the jumps in time and found the pacing quite jarring. It was extremely difficult for me to navigate through the story since it almost always failed to keep my attention. Nonetheless, I enjoyed seeing the female characters who have a lot more agency in this book, despite the heavy patriarchal structures they're living in. I especially enjoyed seeing the women not back down when faced with domestic abuse and actually fighting back. The ending of Arrow of God is by far the most intriguing portion of the story. The phrase "Arrow of God" is drawn from an Igbo proverb in which a person, or sometimes an event, is said to represent the will of God. Ezeulu sees himself as the arrow in the bow of his god. Ironically, Ezeulu's insistence on punishing the people of Umuaro leads to the end of worship of his deity, Ulu, as people flock to the Christian church for help and protection. So the title might also, ironically, indicate that Ezeulu has become a useful tool in the hands of the Christian God, helping Christianity achieve dominance over Ulu. Ultimately, the death of Umuaro's god also means the death of Umuaro's way of life; the time will come when the people will see what embracing Christianity has done to their culture. After indicating that the people saw Obika's death as a judgment against Ulu's priest, the novel concludes: Ulu had chosen a dangerous time to uphold that truth for in destroying his priest he had also brought disaster on himself…For a deity who chose a moment such as this to chastise his priest or abandon him before his enemies was inciting people to take liberties. Despite my lack of personal enjoyment of the story, it is still one I highly appreciate. Chinua Achebe's voice and his take on the history of his country and the lives of his people was much needed at a time during which discourse and portrayals of Africa were almost exclusively shaped by Western media. Achebe's contribution to what we now call modern African literature cannot be described by mere words. Along other writers of his time, he helped pave the way for generations to come.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This is the final book in Nigerian author Chinua Achebe's African Trilogy. I have read the first two, Things Fall Apart and No Longer At Ease. All three novels do a remarkable job of showing the culture clash of an indigenous people with their colonial invaders. In fact, Achebe is considered the originator of the genre in Africa. This one spotlights the religious aspect. Ezeulu is the Chief Priest of Ulu, god of six Ibo villages in Eastern Nigeria in the second decade of the 20th century. The Br This is the final book in Nigerian author Chinua Achebe's African Trilogy. I have read the first two, Things Fall Apart and No Longer At Ease. All three novels do a remarkable job of showing the culture clash of an indigenous people with their colonial invaders. In fact, Achebe is considered the originator of the genre in Africa. This one spotlights the religious aspect. Ezeulu is the Chief Priest of Ulu, god of six Ibo villages in Eastern Nigeria in the second decade of the 20th century. The British presence there is represented by a District Officer, Captain Winterbottom with his crew, and a Christian Mission. After a war between two villages, which Ezeulu had been trying to prevent is stopped instead by Captain Winterbottom, the Priest comes to respect the power and influence of the British. He even sends one of his sons to learn Christianity in an effort to discover the secret of such power. The Priest's power comes from recognition by the villagers that he is their god's representative. However, there are some naysayers who disagree, even among Ezeulu's extended family. His son expends his newfound Christian zeal by attempting to kill a sacred royal python. That act creates an uproar among the villagers so Ezeulu chooses to renew his opposition to the British with mixed results. I felt I got to know these native Nigerians, as I also did in the earlier books. I was immersed in their family relations, their traditions, and the confusion a foreign culture brings to their ancient ways. Ezeulu is a deeply drawn character. As I am sure Achebe intended, my sympathies were with the Priest. The tragedy he so thoughtfully and cleverly tried to evade was devastating when it came. Chinua Achebe's ability to blend his descriptions of village life and Ibo beliefs with a humorous take on British bewilderment in the face of such difference does more than any amount of journalism can do to present the full scope of such a scene.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    The final book in Achebe's African trilogy is the story of Ezeulu, the high priest of his clan, the members of whom live in five villages in Nigeria. Villages and clans have their own self-created gods, who rise and fall over time, depending on the successes or failures of the clan and villages. Set in an unspecified time, probably early 20th century, Ezeulu is protector of the traditional ways and spirtual life of the villages, as the influence of the British rulers continue to encroach, transf The final book in Achebe's African trilogy is the story of Ezeulu, the high priest of his clan, the members of whom live in five villages in Nigeria. Villages and clans have their own self-created gods, who rise and fall over time, depending on the successes or failures of the clan and villages. Set in an unspecified time, probably early 20th century, Ezeulu is protector of the traditional ways and spirtual life of the villages, as the influence of the British rulers continue to encroach, transform and corrput the lives and culture of Nigeria. Ezeulu sends one of his sons to become a Christian, to keep an eye on them. The son, not surpringly, becomes conflicted - though generally remains loyal to his father. Ezeulu is eventually humbled and humiliated by the British, who hold him as a captive "guest" for a number of weeks. When returning to his village, he tries to reassert his power by postponing - for allegedly religious reasons - the annual harvest festival, which stirs great anger and resentment. The Christians, seeing an opening, ensure that everyone knows the Christian god says they may harvest and eat immediately. As the villages are in increasing turmoil, one of Ezeula's sons dies of fever, and Ezeulu collapses mentally "in his last days, to live in the haughtly splendor of a demented high priest [which:] spared him the knowledge of the final outcome"...the outcome being the wholesale conversion of the village to Christianity. I found the prior books in the trilogy - Things Fall Apart and No Longer at East - better than The Arrow of God, though Achebe says the latter was his favourite. While The Arrow of God seemed to be a rehash of the themes of Things Fall Apart, all three books are well worth the read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Madi ~☆TheBookNerdDiaries☆~

    Nope. Just nope. I think I've seen this book regarded as a great work of literature and the author as an amazing one. To both, I STRONGLY disagree. I hated this book and used an audiobook to make progress and a print copy to track that progress. Using the audiobook was probably the only way I could have ever gotten through this one. It was boring as h-e-double-hockey-sticks. Where was the plot? Where was the action? Characters with substance? Personalities? Yeah, this book ain't got none of that. Nope. Just nope. I think I've seen this book regarded as a great work of literature and the author as an amazing one. To both, I STRONGLY disagree. I hated this book and used an audiobook to make progress and a print copy to track that progress. Using the audiobook was probably the only way I could have ever gotten through this one. It was boring as h-e-double-hockey-sticks. Where was the plot? Where was the action? Characters with substance? Personalities? Yeah, this book ain't got none of that. Just a bunch of nonsense and some guy putting a snake in a box instead of killing it. And then everyone bashes and hates on him for it the rest of the book. Why was that bad? Idk this book made no sense. 0 stars. Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sidney Davis

    This novel gives an African perspective on the colonial imposition of Western culture upon African/Igbo culture and tradition. It is a story that gives voice to the European influence and voice to the African response to it. It is a narrative that shows how this was done and the effects and consequences of the encounter. The characters of the novel are very engaging and come alive from the pen of Achebe. If you liked Things Fall Apart, then you will like the Arrow of God.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Monster Longe

    It was alright. The story-telling could have been better, for I felt that we were introduced to a lot of characters that had zero impact on the telling of the story, so that takes away a lot of the luster. Plus, the conclusion and the way the story wrapped up was just "eh, I read all of this for it to end like this?". I've heard all this regard for Chinua Achebe, but this was a bad introduction to his work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    قرأت النسخة المترجمة،للهيئة العامة للكتاب،ترجمة : سمير عبدربه،المترجم المعروف بترجمته عن اللغات الافريقية.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kimmy

    I liked this one less than Things Fall Apart and again, I dislike his writing style.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amaka Azie

    What a delightful book. I enjoyed it a lot. A story about Ezeulu a chief priest of Ulu that bound six villages in eastern Nigeria during colonial times. He took his priesthood seriously but the new religion (Christianity) became a challenge. Well written with beautiful poetic proverbs that captivated me. I can’t believe how much more I am now enjoying these books I read with less enthusiasm as a child. Sometimes it’s only in re-reading a book that one can appreciate the beauty of that book. I de What a delightful book. I enjoyed it a lot. A story about Ezeulu a chief priest of Ulu that bound six villages in eastern Nigeria during colonial times. He took his priesthood seriously but the new religion (Christianity) became a challenge. Well written with beautiful poetic proverbs that captivated me. I can’t believe how much more I am now enjoying these books I read with less enthusiasm as a child. Sometimes it’s only in re-reading a book that one can appreciate the beauty of that book. I definitely recommend 👍🏾

  27. 5 out of 5

    meandermind

    Set in the early 1900's, Achebe describes the life of six villages through the eyes of their high priest Ezeulu. I don't really know what to say about this except it is really, really good. One could argue that it's a bit subtle, rambling sometimes, but all events lead masterfully up to the great crescendo, where the white man geniously takes over, not only because of his inherent evil ways but all actions seem to collude. The inner doubts of Ezeulu, his relationships with his family and friends Set in the early 1900's, Achebe describes the life of six villages through the eyes of their high priest Ezeulu. I don't really know what to say about this except it is really, really good. One could argue that it's a bit subtle, rambling sometimes, but all events lead masterfully up to the great crescendo, where the white man geniously takes over, not only because of his inherent evil ways but all actions seem to collude. The inner doubts of Ezeulu, his relationships with his family and friends and with the white man are fascinating to follow. And as I probably mentioned when I reviewed Things Fall Apart, the language is just sublime. The whole speaking-through-mostly-old-sayings really adds a whole dimension to the plot. I went in reading this expecting to criticize the gender perspective, and even though it is clearly written in a patriarchic voice I was just blown away by how interesting it was, that I too sort of forgot that the women are portrayed as bystanders and objects. And victims, but that is adressed sort of, through the daughter who runs away from her husband back to Ezeulu's house, and through numerous mentions of the colonizers "taking natives to their bed" (in citation because clearly, what they mean is raped). The characters have such depth, mostly described through their actions and not inner monologue, and also everyone's relationships to eachother are crisply elocuted. Just, a really really good read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Aziz

    eh, I feel like I had these expectations for this book that just weren’t met. there was so much going on and it took away from the main plot of the Christian vs Igbo “way of life”. I’m a lil disappointed :/ there was potential but I just didn’t have a great time reading it

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meeko1971

    It was already my favorite of the trilogy and then on the final page came this...that no man however great was greater than his people.....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sevin

    So. Dull. (But insightful from an academic point?)

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