I have to admit, there was enough to keep me mildly interested at the start, apparently a milestone for African fiction. In the Umuofia Clan lies a wealthy man named Okonkwo and who does whatever it takes to keep the village how it's always been, having feasts with yams, vegetable soup, all the royalties of a place where you had to depend on not too much sun and not too much water in case of flooding. (I don't know why or even if I ever found books about poverty an enjoyable subject.) I expected it to be about just that: Famine due to the weather, but instead, apart from celebrating the African Gods and teaching readers the way of the inane clan, despite murders, this book seems to try it's best to be about nothing in particular as it can be.
Maybe it's not my fault I hated this book. I mean, looking at how much debt and drought the media makes us see Africa in, I should appreciate a book about someone who by the front cover, looks wise and spiritual. But nothing is forgivable about a protagonist like Okonkwo. First of all, he's the only, well, memorable character, I suppose, mostly because he's aggressive and his name pops up a lot. All of the other names, like Ogbuefi Ezeunda, Ikemefuma, Ezenma, and Uchendu, etc. sound the same to me and even though I guess they're just natural names where they come from, almost every character is instantly forgettable and I half expected Chinua Achebe's name to be in the book and me to miss it. You forget their names and divert your attention to hoping something better will come up, like Okonkwo stopping his aggressiveness towards his family. Does he ever say "please" once? Does he learn anything about peace and happiness? Does anybody?
Years pass without anything really happening, except some of the meanest stereotypes you can come up with. One is how menacing white people are and how every good thing that may come from them is trickery. A protagonist I began to care for gets executed, and it is apparently because the spirit of the moons or whoever says so in the books. Here's an old saying too that I'd recommend hearing: "Never make a movie or book about a character you can't stand." That same rule applies to setting. The worst stereotype is how the men seem to become "women." So, apparently, being a man is to be ruthless, vicious and be catered for at the snap of a finger by whoever you please and is praised? Remember how I said I expected Chinua Achebe's name to be in the book? Halfway through, I was also expecting to find out he was half-Nigerian, half Kim Jong-un relative. The book for the enemy that the enemy will not reject.
What I can say that's good about the book, though, is it's not gross, which I was expecting it to be and I was grateful for that, and that it does a good job of transporting us to a yellow, ugly, vile region of yams.