Things Fall Apart is the story of Okonkwo, a man of some repute in traditional Igbo society in Nigeria. As the story unfolds, the British colonials come in, introduce Christianity and British government, and begin to influence the culture and ways of the local people. Okonkwo's inability to accept these changes and his desire to follow Igbo tradition strictly eventually lead to his undoing.
The book takes the tribe through many different rituals, explaining each one. It describes reasons for wars between neighboring tribes, tribal government, ways of offending, preparing food, living quarters, arrangements of relationships. (I don't say marriage here because that is not the right term for the arrangements.)
I enjoyed this book, not because it entertained me, but because it taught me a lot about African culture in this part of Africa. I thought it was fascinating to see the clash between traditional African society and the influence of British rule.
[spoiler alert] The final lines sum the clash of these perspectives best when the British Commissioner was pontificating about the book he would write about this region: "The story of this man [Okonkwo] who had killed a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading...He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger." With those lines, it is obvious that the British are just as strict about the practice of their own rituals and unaccepting of any change to their own cultural perspective.
My copy has front notes about the author and the history of African literature which I have yet to read. I'm sure that will offer more information and insight into the novel.