The Africana Experience

In May we will be reading two selections that fit the theme “The Africana Experience.” This month’s selections are: Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go
Critics say 32-year-old author Taiye Selasi is one of the most exciting new writers. Part Ghanian and part Nigerian, Selasi was raised in London and educated in the United States. This biography is reflected in her new book which spans the globe from Accra, Ghana, to London to New York. It's the story of a successful African immigrant family living in Boston. They seem to be fulfilling the American dream until the father, a surgeon, inexplicably leaves. This sets into motion an unraveling family that's repaired only by a reunion following their father’s untimely death.

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Things Fall Apart is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.


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Reminder: We usually choose 2-3 books per month. You're welcome at our meeting whether you read all or none of the books. We read fiction, nonfiction, and plays, and usually try to cover 1 piece of classic literature monthly. We read books reviewed or mentioned on NPR, and try to mirror NPR's tone at our meetings: thoughtful, polite discussion & commentary, with no arguing or posturing, and no sacred cows or unmentioned elephants in the room.

Suggested Donation: $1, at the meeting. If you are able to make a $1 donation at the meeting, this is appreciated as it helps defray the monthly charge that applies to the group Organizer.

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  • Marcia

    We had a wonderful, thought-provoking evening.

    May 18, 2013

  • Elysia J.

    I am excited about this one because I spent years on the Navajo Nation and I noticed so many parallels in "Things Fall Apart" between what happened to both cultures when the missionaries came.

    May 13, 2013

  • Mary M. F.

    I love the theme. We are now hosting a student from Niger and helping him write his memoir. He is from the nomadic Tuareg tribe of the Sahara. You can imagine the culture shock and the weighing of values he is experiencing.

    May 13, 2013

    • Elysia J.

      Yes I agree with Dorian I can't wait to hear about your host student!

      May 13, 2013

  • Dorian T.

    You'll certainly have to tell us all about your host student and his memoir on Friday!

    May 13, 2013

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