The Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has died. We’ve written about Achebe on Litkicks before: Juliana Harris wrote a brief biography, and I had a chance to hear him read at a PEN World Voices festival in 2006.
Images of his dignified elderly face have been splashed around since the announcement of his death. His expression signifies a lot, but I thought I’d pay tribute instead by showing four covers of his signature work, Things Fall Apart. The rightmost image above is the paperback edition I was assigned to read in middle school (I can’t remember if it was 6th or 7th grade). The book didn’t make much impact on me at the time, but I was able to appreciate it later.
I like the paperback covers a lot, and I also like these two earlier hardcovers. The one of the left is the book’s first edition.
Finally, from Slate, here’s a chilling look at how easily this classic novel might have never been read by anyone at all, ever.