Home And Exile
This trenchant and illuminating book by one of Africa’s most influential and celebrated writers is a major statement on the importance and dangers of stories, one in which Achebe makes telling use of his personal experiences to examine the political nature of culture and specifically literature. It is the weaving of the personal into the bigger picture that makes Home and Exile so remarkable and affecting. It’s the closest we are likely to get by way of Achebe’s autobiography but it is also a brilliantly argued critique of imperialism. Achebe challenges the way the West has appropriated Africa with a particular emphasis on how ‘imperialist’ literature has been used to justify its dispossession and degradation. Above all this is a book that articulates persuasively why literature matters. Stories are a real source of power in the world, Achebe concludes, and to imitate the literature of another culture is to give that power away.