Cover image for Anthills of the Savannah
Title:
Anthills of the Savannah
Author:
Achebe, Chinua
Subject:
Fiction
Literature
Description:
A searing satire of political corruption and social injustice from the celebrated author of Things Fall ApartIn 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).
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group

Penguin Books
Date:
2012/02/22
Digital Format:
Adobe EPUB

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Kindle
Language:
English

Summary

Summary

A searing satire of political corruption and social injustice from the celebrated author of Things Fall Apart

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 ).


Author Notes

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born on November 16, 1930 in Ogidi, Nigeria. He studied English, history and theology at University College in Ibadan from 1948 to 1953. After receiving a second-class degree, he taught for a while before joining the Nigeria Broadcasting Service in 1954.

He was working as a broadcaster when he wrote his first two novels, and then quit working to devote himself to writing full time. Unfortunately his literary career was cut short by the Nigerian Civil War. During this time he supported the ill-fated Biafrian cause and served abroad as a diplomat. He and his family narrowly escaped assassination. After the civil war, he abandoned fiction for a period in favor of essays, short stories, and poetry.

His works include Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, No Longer at Ease, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, and There Was a Country. He also wrote four children's books including Chike and the River and How the Leopard Got His Claws. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize for his "overall contribution to fiction on the world stage." He also worked as a professor of literature in Nigeria and the United States. He died following a brief illness on March 21, 2013 at the age of 82.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

``This bitterly ironic novel by the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart is at times more of a polemic than dramatic narrative, but it presents a candid, trenchantly insightful view of contemporary Africa,'' wrote PW of the portrait of a West African military coup leader, and his moral deterioration. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Kirkus Review

A superb new work from the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart (1959), his first novel in over 20 years. In the depleted, post-colonial West African state of Kengan, a military coup ushers a promising young officer into the role of president. Lucky, bright, but terminally afraid of a counterinsurrection, the President, a.k.a. His Excellency, fails in a referendum bid to install himself as President for Life. As his paranoia gradually chokes all remnants of due process, the slide to tyranny is observed through three key witnesses: Chris, the Commissioner of Information; Ikem, poet and editor of the National Gazette; and Beatrice, a senior civil servant. Cabinet meetings have been reduced to ritualistic gestures of subservience to the President, who lords it over his Ministers with the malicious glee of a chiding schoolmaster, but Chris at first can't summon the courage to resign his post. He does attempt, however, to warn Ikem that a storm is brewing, but to no avail: Ikem continues to caricature the President in National Gazette editorials, and His Excellency finds the right pretext to suspend his duties as editor when Ikem is seen drinking with delegates from a supposedly seditious province. Having no way of knowing just how out of control the President's anxiety has become, Ikem delivers a speech to a group of students--and the President raises the stakes by having the ex-editor arrested and ""fatally wounded in a scuffle."" Chris, sensing he's next in line, escapes through a chain of safe houses to a rural province, where he learns that a new coup has toppled His Excellency's regime. In a final ironic twist, Chris is murdered during celebrations of the President's fall before he has a chance to size up the threat of this new coup's emerging star. Tough, tight-lipped, and shrewd, this one reestablishes Achebe's place as a leading voice in African literature. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

The leader of an African Third World country who was brought into power by a revolution finds himself the victim of political backlash when an election fails to confirm him as president for life. But the main characters in Achebe's new novel are the people who knew this man as a student and who helped him early on to consolidate his control before he pushed the nation onto the road to dictatorship. The lives of these former friends and colleagues are now endangered as the president begins to suspect that enemies in his administration are attempting to thwart his future dynastic ambitions and to expose his past. As an observer of the emergence of African nationhood, the novelist presents a droll and fierce picture of the politics of liberation as well as individual portraits of the human emotions that function within this complex of patriotism versus power. Achebe is also the author of A Man of the People (Booklist 63:228 O 15 66). JB. [OCLC] 87-30565


Choice Review

Achebe's great tetralogy stands as the most significant literary statement of the African condition. Things Fall Apart (1959), Arrow of God (1967), No Longer at Ease (1960), and Man of the People (CH, Feb '68) detail the tragic human consequences of European intervention with both sympathy and understanding. Achebe's anguish at the butchery of the Nigerian civil war virtually silenced him. There were poems, a few short stories, and a vehement complaint. The Trouble With Nigeria (1984). Now, after 20 years, there is a new novel. It is set in Kangan, a fictional African country markedly like Idi Amin's Uganda. The young army officer/president sustains his coup with an increasingly paranoid violence imposed on a country that becomes both corrupt and resentful. Two idealistic ex-school friends, Chris Oriko and Ikem Osodi, are driven into opposition and resistance. They are ruthlessly hunted down and destroyed. Achebe's angry passion is obvious. The novel itself is rather less convincing. it lacks the calculated structure and ironic reversals that made his earlier works so profound. There is a preference for long discussion and explanation. The anxieties of the participants are described rather than rendered visible through action. Yet the appalling events, so close to the contemporary African reality, offer much for thought and a master hand is still evident. This is a novel of ideas presented by an author who is still able to express his bitter condemnation of the errors and cruelties of modern Africa. It will be read with concern by a wide readership.-J.F. Povey, University of California, Los Angeles