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A Man of the People (1966)

de Chinua Achebe

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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7321223,618 (3.7)52
By the renowned author of Things Fall Apart, this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the color and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Excellent and honest look at human nature.

A lot of human weakness cleverly and honestly exposed. I wanted to grab Odili, the narrator, and shake him.

But we are guided not to judge him from a distance but rather look at him as a mirror: Achebe hints that this person is not a million miles away from himself (Odili wants to write a novel about the first white men who came to his people). For me this is a signal that I am not to take this as an indictment of any one person or group of people but of all of us.

[spoiler]
This might be why the character feels so real and familiar despite being so duplicitous and self-centred and disloyal. I can't call him a coward, he is brave enough at times, but it didn't cross his mind to defend Elise when she was raped, or to stand by her or support her. He seems to see everyone as a means to an end and I don't think there is a single point in the book where he shows any genuine concern for another human being. (Correct me if I am wrong!)

Despite all this he is well able to see almost everything that is vile in Cheif Nanga, he thinks clearly and has a strong sense of what is right. Or is he just waiting for "his turn to eat"? He is very skilled at seeing what is wrong with the world and never stops to look at what might be wrong with him. His chief motivations are sex, revenge and greed. But through all this he manages to truly believe he is a noble man.
[/spoiler].


Some interesting quotes:
[spoiler]
"This man had used his position to enrich himself and they would ask you—as my father did—if you thought that a sensible man would spit out the juicy morsel that good fortune placed in his mouth."

"But we are eating too. They are bringing us water and they promise to bring us electricity. We did not have those things before; that is why I say we are eating too."

"Not what I have but what I do is my kingdom" - Thomas Carlyle quote

There is a bit about voting for someone just because they come from the same village as you, which is also rampant in Ireland and I assume that's the case everywhere. He calls it "primitive loyalty" which seems appropriate.

"Some people's belly is like the earth. It is never so full that it will not take another corpse."

"What money will do in this land wears a hat."

"I could tell by watching his face that his final state of knowledge was achieved through an act of will."

"She had been like a dust particle in the high atmosphere around which the water vapour of my thinking formed its globule of rain."

"As a rule I don't like suffering to no purpose. Suffering should be creative, should give birth to something good and lovely."

[/spoiler] ( )
  RebeccaBooks | Sep 16, 2021 |
Chinua Achebe almost effortlessly build such beautiful characters. Let's look at Odili- upright, scornful of the direction his country is taking, yet happy with his little assignment at the Grammar School. Then the possibility of a scholarship comes along and his 'dissent' starts turning into action. He decides he needs this scholarship anti the current theme of Western educated elite being treated like pariahs. He almost 'dissents' by going and living with Chief Nanga and his family- someone he is shown to have developed a detest for- and admires his multi-bungalow, flushed-toilets lifestyle. A minor dissent is trying to bring his girlfriend Elsie and her friend home for the gentleman's company. And then of course that fateful incident which leaves him like someone 'with an elephant carcass on their head toeing around for a grasshopper' (I only remember this one but the book is full of such delightful local similes). He then dissents by joining the 'left-leaning intellectuals led common people party' (as described in a beautiful introduction by Karl Maier) and contesting the chief's seat and vying for the affection of his upcoming wife. What follows is tragic and yet beautiful.

Odili is such a real character- full of interesting twists and turns and choices.

This is the first Chinua Achebe book I've read and definitely won't be the last. ( )
  zasmine | Feb 21, 2021 |
A very human, engaging look into the politics and life of one facet of African culture. ( )
  eloavox | Oct 29, 2020 |
good novel, interesting exploration of the way political power is wielded and viewed in a country with less functional institutions. felt like I came away from the book with a meaningfully better understanding of how that looks and perpetuates on the ground. ( )
  Alex_JN | Dec 10, 2019 |
Power corrupts absolutely in this novel where bribery, governmental apathy and incopetence vie as the modus operandi for a cruel dictator. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
adicionado por zasmine | editarThe New Times (Mar 12, 2010)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (9 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Chinua Achebeautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Maier, KarlIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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"No one can deny that Chief the Honourable M. A. Nanga, M.P., was the most approachable politician in the country..."
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Most of the hunters reserved their precious powder to greet the Minister's arrival- the price of gunpowder like everything else having doubled again and again in the four years since this government took controls.
As I stood in one corner of the vast tumult waiting for the the arrival of the Minister I felt intense bitterness welling up in my mouth. Here were silly, ignorant villagers dancing themselves lame and waiting to blow off their gunpowder in honor of one of those who had started the country off down the slopes of inflation.
I don't know if this happens to other people but the knowledge that i am listened to attentively works in a sort of vicious circle to improve the quality of what I have to say.
It was strange perhaps that a man who had so much on his mind should find time to pay attention to these small inconsequential things; it was like the man in the proverb who was carrying the carcass of the elephant on his head and searching with his toes for a grasshopper. But that was how it happened. It seems that no thought- no matter how great- had the power to exclude all others.
The people themselves as we have seen had become even more cynical than their leaders and were apathetic in the bargain. 'Let them eat' was the people's opinion, 'After all when white men eat did we commit suicide?'. Of course not. And where is the all-powerful white man today? He came, he ate and he went. But we are still around. The important thing then is to stay alive; if you do you will outlive your present annoyance. The great thing, as old people have told us, is reminiscence; and only those who survive can have it. Besides, if you survive, who knows? It may be your turn to eat tomorrow. Your son may bring home your share.
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By the renowned author of Things Fall Apart, this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the color and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.

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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)

823 — Literature English (not North America) English fiction

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