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Books

‘There Was a Country’ by Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart,” published about 55 years ago, virtually introduced African-written fiction to the rest of the world. Not only that, his story of a traditional village hero, come to grief under the Western ways imported by the British, has been a huge and continuing success, translated into numerous languages, and selling a reported 12 million copies.

Now in his 80s, having written a number of other novels on African themes and taught for years at colleges in the United States — Bard and currently at Brown — Achebe has published a kind of hybrid memoir. The first and more interesting part tells of his upbringing and early days.

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