Quotes by Chinua Achebe, dead at age 82

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 22 at 1:01 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Select quotes by Chinua Achebe, the pioneering African writer, government critic and advocate for African storytelling:

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"Okonkwo's fame had grown like a bush-fire in the harmattan. He was tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and wide nose gave him a very severe look. He breathed heavily, and it was said that, when he slept, his wives and children in their houses could hear him breathe." — from the 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart."

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"The story of this man who had killed a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading. One could almost write a whole chapter on him. Perhaps not a whole chapter but a resonable paragraph, at any rate. There was so much else to include, and one must be firm in cutting out details. He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: 'The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.'" — from "Things Fall Apart."

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"'Heart of Darkness' projects the image of Africa as 'the other world,' the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where a man's vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality," from "An Image of Africa," a 1975 lecture that became a widely printed essay.

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"The point of my observations should be quite clear by now, that ('Heart of Darkness' author Joseph) Conrad was a bloody racist. That this simple truth is glossed over in criticism of his work is due to the fact white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely undetected." — from "An Image of Africa."

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"She looked at each in turn with a strained smile on her countenance. 'Truth is beauty, isn't it? It must be you know to make someone dying in that pain, to make him ... smile. He sees it and it is ... How can I say it? ... It is unbearably, yes unbearably beautiful.'" — from the 1987 novel "Anthills of the Savannah."

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"After a war life catches desperately at passing/hints of normality like vines entwining a hollow/twig; its famished roots close on rubble and/every piece of broken glass." — a poem from the 2012 memoir "There Was a Country."

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