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Anthills of the Savannah Paperback – February 4, 1998
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A searing satire of political corruption and social injustice from the celebrated author of Things Fall Apart
"Achebe has written a story that sidesteps both ideologies of the African experience and political agendas, in order to lead us to a deeply human universal wisdom." —Washington Post Book World
In the fictional West African nation of Kangan, newly independent of British rule, the hopes and dreams of democracy have been quashed by a fierce military dictatorship. Chris Oriko is a member of the president's cabinet for life, and one of the leader's oldest friends. When the president is charged with censoring the opportunistic editor of the state-run newspaper--another childhood friend--Chris's loyalty and ideology are put to the test. The fate of Kangan hangs in the balance as tensions rise and a devious plot is set in motion to silence a firebrand critic.
From Chinua Achebe, the legendary author of Things Fall Apart, Anthills of the Savannah is "A vision of social change that strikes us with the force of prophecy." (USA Today)
From Publishers Weekly
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"[Anthills Of The Savannah] has wonderful satiric moments and resounds with big African laughter." —The New York Review Of Books
"Achebe moves effortlessly . . . creating a flurry of perspectives from which his story's dramatic and disturbing events are scrutinized. Anthills Of The Savannah . . . will prove hard to forget. It's a vision of social change that strikes us with the force of prophecy" —USA Today
- Publisher : Anchor Books; 1st edition (February 4, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 216 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385260458
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385260459
- Lexile measure : 1030L
- Item Weight : 6.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #443,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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What was also interesting was the divergent paths of three friends who now had different views of life and how they should interact with it. As in reality, power ultimately corrupted one and lead to his downfall sadly taking the other two along with him. The analogy to 3 green bottles from the ditty was profound. Another great novel by Chinua Achebe.
The narrowly focused military leader of Kangan and his boyhood friends, one an advisor unsure of his loyalties, the other a journalist sure of his commitment to a more democratic nation, give the reader a glimpse into the political dis-ease of modern west African nations. The two female characters contrast one another and invite the reader to consider a less stereotypical vision of African women.
Mr. Achebe's use of language is dense and is sprinkled with words and phrases unknown to most American readers making slow going through this short novel. His writing, however, does present a nuanced tone that gives more than a cursory glimpse of West African cultures and sensibilities.
aka Elizabeth Evans, author, Sanakhou
The ending of the book is dramatic and hopeful but all along Achebe demonstrates how the British, the former colonial masters, left little for the people to hang on to after they left. The cabinet and the leader are satirical objects almost making the return of the English almost desirable. The one recurrent criticism of the book I would offer is Achebe's use of Pidgin English in the speech of the less educated characters. I had trouble understanding what they were saying, although I do understand his use of the language as a tool. Even when he is not totally on top of his game, Achebe is still worth reading carefully. He is a fine writer.
Stanley C. Diamond, author of "What's an American Doing Here? Reflections on Travel in the Third World."
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The story revolves around Chris (commissioner for information), Ikem (editor of the most prominent newspaper in the country), Beatrice (Chris' girlfriend and an employee at the ministry of finance) and finally Sam (His Excellency) - all UK educated, all friends at some point in time - and their deteriorating relationship. The inexorable changes result from Sam slowly but surely losing his grip on reality and spiralling into self delusion. At the same time the country is rapidly approaching truly disruptive change in a development that is as terrible, as it is inexorable.
Modelled on oil boom Nigeria, it is probably one of the more prominent of Achebe's works. Written much later than his early fiction (1987), it loses none of the vitality of works such as Things Fall Apart (Penguin Classics) or No Longer at Ease (Penguin Modern Classics) but adds perhaps a richer, more nuanced understanding of politics into the mix.
If you are interested in a fictional yet insightful view of the development of dictatorship, you can hardly do better than Anthills. Updike's The Coup (Penguin Modern Classics) does not have the easy flow or the first hand insight, and books such as Naipaul's A Bend in the River are just not quite in the same league quality wise in my opinion.
Their struggle is of exploring humanity which is simple but is shrouded beneath all the layers and complexities of our societies. And it's a hard struggle but a beautiful one.