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Achebe, Head, Marechera: On Power and Change in Africa

Annie Gagiano
ISBN: 978-0-89410-887-7
2000/314 pages/LC: 99-056357

"[An] excellent critical study.... This work deserves a place on the shelves of students of African studies. Gagiano has carefully dissected the literary works of these three great African writers so that the rest of us may now go beyond wherever we were before we read her book.... opens passageways to meaningful discussions on African literature and postcolonial studies."—Glen Bush, African Studies Review

"Probing analysis of the narratives of three of Africa's most distinguished novelists.... this book is recommended for all college and university libraries."—Choice

"A succinct and elegant study.... Courageous, judicious, and sagacious in its politics."—Chimalum Nwanko


Concentrating on issues of power and change, Annie Gagiano's close reading of literary texts by Chinua Achebe, Bessie Head, and Dambudzo Marechera teases out each author's view of how colonialism affected Africa, the contribution of Africans to their own malaise, and above all, the creative, progressive, pragmatic role of many Africans during the colonial and postcolonial periods.

Gagiano contends that Achebe, Head, and Marechera plays an important part in the necessary reconceptualization by Africans of themselves and their place in the global system. Treating both the consummate verbal art of these writers and their social relevance, she reveals them to be penetrating analysts who convey lucid, convincing evaluations of the failures and prospects of contemporary African societies.


Annie H. Gagiano lectures in English at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa).


  • Introduction.
  • Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease.
  • Arrow of God.
  • A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah.
  • The Cardinals.
  • When Rain Clouds Gather.
  • Maru.
  • A Question of Power.
  • A Bewitched Crossroad: An African Saga.
  • The House of Hunger.
  • The Black Insider.
  • Black Sunlight.
  • Mindblast.
  • Scrapiron Blues.