A Man of the People. Chinua Achebe. Johannesburg, South Africa: Heinemann, 1988.
All of them Witches
Taking into consideration that Chinua Achebe (Ogidi, Anambra, Nigeria, 1930 – Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 2013) was forced to leave his country with his family soon after the publication of this novel, accused by his people of being informed about the military coup which took place a year after, everybody should feel at least curious about it. It is indeed a curious story, told by a curious man who introduces himself as a sample of upstanding man. A whole man against that man of the people from the title.
The reader should not trust nobody in this story.
It is a tale of two enemies: the teacher turned into Culture Minister and his grown up student, visiting him.
Everything seems so fake in their behavior, that the reader is forced to take distance and watch them as a sort of parody, a dark and bitter comedy of some post-colonial African Politics issues.
We cannot laugh of what is supposed to be funny, because a selfish uninspiring man is laughing about it. We cannot share feelings with the narrator, because he treats women as if they were cattle… but we manage to understand what really worries the main character, the moment he uncovers his veil and shows his real goals in life: not only knocking his rival, but also conquer a society.
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