Anthills Of/Savannah

Chinua Achebe, Author Doubleday Books $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-01664-3
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this bitterly ironic novel by the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God and The Man of the People is at times more of a polemic than dramatic narrative, but it presents a candid, trenchantly insightful view of contemporary Africa. Set in a undeveloped West African state called Kangan, the plot revolves around the figure of the new president, who has taken power in a military coup. The three main charactersChristopher Oriko, commissioner for information; his lover, Beatrice Okoh, who works in the ministry of finance; and Ikem Osodi, the gadfly editor of the National Gazettehave all known His Excellency since their youths (to them, he is merely Sam) and they have watched with dismay his moral deterioration and his assumption of totalitarian powers. Ikem, in particular, is unable to repress his stinging criticism of the Emperor, and his outspoken denunciations make Chris and Beatrice fear for his safety. As events move toward a violent crisis, Achebe skillfully demonstrates how the social fabric has been destroyed in Third World countries that have been alienated from their rich mythic roots by colonial powers. Though his major characters speak upper-class English to each other, they converse in the local patois with people of humble station. While this language is quite difficult for readers to comprehend, it serves to illustrate the alienation of the British-educated civil servants from the culture of their ancestors, and at the same time reveals the beauty and dignity of the folklore by which moral and behavioral standards were once transmitted. In the end, the novel must be deemed successful in its powerful portrayal of a society in crisis.(February 28)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-385-26045-9
Hardcover - 233 pages - 978-0-435-90539-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-385-66782-1
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-385-66836-1
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-435-90538-5
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-14-118690-0
Hardcover - 233 pages - 978-0-434-00604-5
Prebound-Other - 216 pages - 978-0-606-29989-3
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-3618-1
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