Chinua Achebe — Nigerian Writer born on November 16, 1930,

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart was considered his magnum opus, and is the most widely read book in modern African literature... (wikipedia)

Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it's far removed from your situation. This is what I try to tell my students: this is one great thing that literature can do - it can make us identify with situations and people far away.
The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery.
I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.
People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that's the time to do something about it, not when it's around your neck.
One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.