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An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here. Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who has now returned to Nigeria for a job in the civil service. However in his new role he finds that the way of government seems to be corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl, he sinks further into emotional and f An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here. Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who has now returned to Nigeria for a job in the civil service. However in his new role he finds that the way of government seems to be corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl, he sinks further into emotional and financial turmoil.


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An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here. Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who has now returned to Nigeria for a job in the civil service. However in his new role he finds that the way of government seems to be corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl, he sinks further into emotional and f An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here. Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who has now returned to Nigeria for a job in the civil service. However in his new role he finds that the way of government seems to be corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl, he sinks further into emotional and financial turmoil.

30 review for No Longer at Ease

  1. 4 out of 5

    Agnieszka

    How much time one need to change the mentality of the man ? One generation ? Is it enough to change the language, culture and faith of man ? Is it really possible to make a new start by breaking from own roots, abandoning tradition and old beliefs ? Obi Okonkwo can consider himself as a privileged man. Educated in England, thanks to support his local community, what makes him its debtor at the same time. After returning to Lagos is trying to find himself in new reality. He is convinced that every How much time one need to change the mentality of the man ? One generation ? Is it enough to change the language, culture and faith of man ? Is it really possible to make a new start by breaking from own roots, abandoning tradition and old beliefs ? Obi Okonkwo can consider himself as a privileged man. Educated in England, thanks to support his local community, what makes him its debtor at the same time. After returning to Lagos is trying to find himself in new reality. He is convinced that everything bad (corruption, laziness, bribery) is fault of the old, that modern education, lack of prejudice makes him resistant to topical deep – seated habits. The story told by Achebe, study of entanglement and the human fall, is not surprising. In fact it’s easy to guess that the ideals will lose with reality. However, there is some freshness in that story, the belief that one must try to change the world and the message that the past can’t be so easily erased from the man.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anshu

    When is a man corrupt - When he takes his first token of bribe or when he is caught taking his Nth bribe? When does a man break – when he runs low on means to eke out a decent life; or when he runs out of reasons to live? What is religion – a code of life or an artificial teat to be sucked on during hours of discomfort and otherwise quickly abandoned to comply with social norms? What is more difficult to repay – an enormous loan or the burden of perceived gratitude? Asking these and many more such d When is a man corrupt - When he takes his first token of bribe or when he is caught taking his Nth bribe? When does a man break – when he runs low on means to eke out a decent life; or when he runs out of reasons to live? What is religion – a code of life or an artificial teat to be sucked on during hours of discomfort and otherwise quickly abandoned to comply with social norms? What is more difficult to repay – an enormous loan or the burden of perceived gratitude? Asking these and many more such difficult to answer questions is Chinua Achebe in his book – No Longer At Ease. It’s a beautiful if poignant story of a young Nigerian man, Obi Okonkwo who is facing his trial for taking a bribe and abusing his position in the Civil Service. The story then traces his past, from the young, bright-eyed, academically gifted boy in school to his present as an accused criminal. And in the course of the story we learn of the challenges that face Africa and its people, especially the young. We learn what circumstances turns a man who finds corruption repugnant, and bribery evil, to one who accepts bribes easily. Surprisingly, it is not difficult to not only empathize with Obi but sympathize with him. Obi secures admission to study law in London, not a mean achievement for he is the first in his village Umuofia to achieve this. However, in Nigeria where money is meager, the means to fulfill this dream appear thin. This is when the villagers who stand by each-other in strong kinship come to the aid of Obi and tax themselves heavily to collect money for his education. On his return after 4 years, Obi realizes that the real Nigeria, Lagos especially, doesn’t match anymore to the memories he had carried with himself. Corruption is abundant and Obi, full with zeal, idealism and foreign education, sets out to secure a position in the Civil Service to do what he can for his country. However, everything is not as rosy as it seemed. Although having been accepted in the services, his boss Mr. Green is a “white-man” who rebels against Nigeria’s independence. Suffering Mr. Green’s taunts and verbal abuses is, however, least of Obi’s problems. His deepening love affair with a beautiful, educated nurse Clara Okeke suddenly hits a wall when the latter reveals that she is an Osu. Osu is a caste in Nigeria, and an Osu is someone whose fore-fathers has dedicated themselves as servants of god. It’s a rigid caste-based society and superstition holds that outsiders who marry Osus bring misfortune upon themselves. Obi, being a Christian and hailing from a family of devout Christians (who wouldn’t even eat at their neighbors’ because they sacrifice food to idols – heathen food), believed that this would not be a problem. But Obi couldn’t be further from the truth. His father implores him to change his mind and not marry an Osu, who he equates to lepers. Obi puts forward arguments of Christianity to help his father understand and having his father’s quiet submission he knows that he can convince his mother too. His mother however stoutly refuses to discuss the matter and requests Obi to wait for her death before he marries, and if indeed he marries earlier she threatens to kill herself. While his personal life is falling off the cliff, financially Obi is suffering the worst onslaught of debt and tax. Living off his 70 pound salary, he finds that most of it goes to educate his younger brother and maintaining his official car and residence. Over and above that he has to start repaying his education loan to the villagers – 20 pounds each month. Faced with the grim financial situation Obi hopes to get a 4 month extension on the loan from the Union, but his request meets with the mumbling disapproval of villagers who don’t understand how a man who earns 70 pounds can not repay his loan. Not only does the Union voice such questions, but they also pry into his dalliance with an Osu girl. Faced with such a disgraceful situation, Obi storms out of the meeting rejecting their request to accept the 4 month extension on loan. Will Obi’s idealism and ethical values stand the test of financial bankruptcy? Will his love with Clara stand the test of social scorn? I would love to tell you, but I won’t play spoiler. This book is a definite must –read and I would love you to read it for yourself.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I wanted to re-read this work for quite some time now, and I am left with a feeling of melancholy and despair after doing so. Yet this second novel of the great great Chinua Achebe shows how far ahead of his time he was, allied to his incredible vision and perception. Mainly, nowadays we lament the horrific effects of corruption in our midst, but in this novel (published in 1960!) Achebe already outlines how corruption can insidiously creep upon even the finest of (young) idealists, become a way of lif I wanted to re-read this work for quite some time now, and I am left with a feeling of melancholy and despair after doing so. Yet this second novel of the great great Chinua Achebe shows how far ahead of his time he was, allied to his incredible vision and perception. Mainly, nowadays we lament the horrific effects of corruption in our midst, but in this novel (published in 1960!) Achebe already outlines how corruption can insidiously creep upon even the finest of (young) idealists, become a way of life, and (start to) destroy both individual and society. Hence the tragedy of Obi Okonkwo here, who seemed to have everything on his side: youth, intelligence, education (British-trained), fine character, and an excellent “government job” to boot. He does not have a wife nor children, yet he descends into corruption as he can not cope with the pressures and demands of the society. Achebe brilliantly shows how this is possible; how and why it happened – and we can only but lament in the end. The role, the push and pull of Obi’s village, extended family, his “sparkling car”, tax, loan repayment (pursuant to his studying overseas) etc. It is quite heart-rending. A modern reader might ponder: if a fine, idealistic young man like Obi can succumb to corruption (even going as far as sleeping with females who want him to help them with scholarships et al) is there any hope for African society in general? As the decades have unfolded in virtually all our countries, we have been rocked with extraordinary revelations of corruption, and Nigeria of course has been amongst the worst. Yet the vast majority of the people are in abject poverty, with a very small fraction stupendously wealthy! Hence we can discern from this brilliant early novel (I probably like it even more than the author’s classic, Things fall apart) many of the deep-seated elements that spark corruption in our society; and with so many individuals incredibly greedy and unconscionable once “in power”, it is perhaps no surprise that Africa has been devastated and stripped in gruesome fashion over the years. This is a novel that should be read by all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vince

    I think I can officially say that I'm a huge fan of Chinua Achebe. His prose is immaculate and it propels the plot ever forward. The novel is the last of the African Trilogy concerning Obi Okwonko, Okwonko's grandson from Things fall Apart. The novel is fast paced and I loved every character even the main one which I couldn't say the same for Things fall Apart. I highly recommend this novel. It's quick, powerful and brilliant. 5 out of 5. I think I can officially say that I'm a huge fan of Chinua Achebe. His prose is immaculate and it propels the plot ever forward. The novel is the last of the African Trilogy concerning Obi Okwonko, Okwonko's grandson from Things fall Apart. The novel is fast paced and I loved every character even the main one which I couldn't say the same for Things fall Apart. I highly recommend this novel. It's quick, powerful and brilliant. 5 out of 5.

  5. 5 out of 5

    leynes

    Oh yes! I absolutely adored this way. No Longer at Ease is often marketed as the second in Achebe’s African Trilogy, however, since I read the trilogy in chronological order based on the content of the books as opposed to their publication, I read No Longer at Ease as the finale, and I sure did save the best for last. Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God pale in comparison to its brilliance. The novel begins in the most intriguing way, the trial of Obi Okonkwo on the charge of accepting a bribe. I Oh yes! I absolutely adored this way. No Longer at Ease is often marketed as the second in Achebe’s African Trilogy, however, since I read the trilogy in chronological order based on the content of the books as opposed to their publication, I read No Longer at Ease as the finale, and I sure did save the best for last. Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God pale in comparison to its brilliance. The novel begins in the most intriguing way, the trial of Obi Okonkwo on the charge of accepting a bribe. Immediately, I was sucked into the story and wanted to know how Obi ended up in that tight spot. I don’t know why but I liked Obi from the start and was rooting for him throughout the book. No Longer at Ease details his journey, from his departure for an education in Britain to his return to his home country for a job in the Nigerian colonial civil service. Obi returns to Nigeria after four years of studies and lives in Lagos with his friend Joseph. He takes a job with the Scholarship Board and is almost immediately offered a bribe by a man who is trying to obtain a scholarship for his sister. When Obi indignantly rejects the offer, he is visited by the girl herself, who implies that she will bribe him with sexual favors for the scholarship, another offer Obi rejects. In general, Obi faces many temptations upon his return to Lagos. The setting was actually reminiscent of Cyprian Ekwensi’s Glittering City. Lagos of the 1960s must have been a mean place to live in, full of temptations and buzzing with energy. “Lagos is a bad place for a young man. If you follow its sweetness, you will perish.” There are many reasons why I liked No Longer at Ease best. First and foremost, the writing has improved so much. I have underlined so many beautiful passages and am overall just shooketh by the beauty of the writing style. On top of that, it featured themes that were more interesting to me. At the centre of the story stands the clash of past versus present, old versus new. Obi’s generation is trying to emancipate themselves from the legacy and burden of their forefathers. I really enjoyed how fresh and intriguing this novel with its new set of (more) progressive ideas was. The novel also shows the clash between Africa and the West and gives a very personal take on the matter, as Obi has experienced the best of both worlds, so to say. I highly enjoyed Achebe’s musings on home and homeland and the importance of language when it comes to shaping one’s identity. I totally wasn’t expecting it but there were many times were I could actually relate to Obi. Four years in England had filled Obi with a longing to be back in Umuofia. This feeling was sometimes so strong that he found himself feeling ashamed of studying English for his degree. He spoke Ibo whenever he had the least opportunity of doing so. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than to find another Ibo-speaking student in a London bus. But when he had to speak in English with a Nigerian student from another tribe he lowered his voice. It was humiliating to have to speak to one's countryman in a foreign language, especially in the presence of the proud owners of that language. They would naturally assume that one had no language of one's own. He wished they were here today to see. Let them come to Umuofia now and listen to the talk of men who made a great art of conversation. Let them come and see men and women and children who knew how to live, whose joy of life had not yet been killed by those who claimed to teach other nations how to live. I also appreciate that No Longer at Ease is the most political / politically explicit novel of the trilogy, which is probably inevitable, since its the one covering events that were contemporary at the time of writing and publishing it. I found it very brave how Achebe confronted the misconceptions of the West when it came to Africa as well as the shortcomings of his own people, especially when it came to corruption and questionable values. He writes: “In Nigeria the government was “they.” It had nothing to do with you or me. It was an alien institution and people’s business was to get as much from it as they could without getting into trouble.” Many a tines questions of education, privilege and power arose, and overall, I really liked how they were handled. Achebe shows the absurdity of who is allowed to raise in society and who is forcibly kept at the bottom. He asks himself: “What kind of democracy can exist side by side with so much corruption and ignorance?” And even though I am not in love with the main female character in this book, since she does have a bit of an instalovey relationship to Obi, I still appreciate the fact that No Longer at Ease is by far the most “woke” and respectful of the trilogy when it comes to the inclusion of female characters and the handling of sexism and topics usually regarding women. Achebe doesn’t fail to address abortions, marriage politics, forced prostitution and what Nigerian women have to endure to simply stay alive. Clara Okeke eventually reveals that she is an osu, an outcast by her descendants, meaning that Obi cannot marry her under the traditional ways of the Igbo people of Nigeria. He remains intent on marrying Clara, but even his Christian father opposes it, although reluctantly due to his desire to progress and eschew the "heathen" customs of pre-colonial Nigeria. His mother begs him on her deathbed not to marry Clara until after her death, threatening to kill herself if Obi disobeys. When Obi informs Clara of these events, Clara breaks the engagement and intimates that she is pregnant. Obi arranges an abortion, which Clara reluctantly undergoes, but she suffers complications and refuses to see Obi afterwards. Though set several decades after Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease continues many of the themes from Achebe's first novel. Here, the clash between European culture and traditional culture has become entrenched during the long period of colonial rule. Obi struggles to balance the demands of his family and village for monetary support while simultaneously keeping up with the materialism of Western culture. Furthermore, Achebe depicts a family continuity between Ogbuefi Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart and his grandson Obi Okonkwo in No Longer at Ease. Both men are confrontational, speak their minds, and have some self-destructive tendencies. However, this aggressive streak manifests itself in different ways. Where his grandfather was a man of action and violence, Obi is a man of words and thoughts to the exclusion of action. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death. The book's title comes from the closing lines of T. S. Eliot's poem, The Journey of the Magi. This passage was also chosen as the epigraph and I absolutely adore it. It fits the story like a glove. These short verses, the final verses of the poem, describe what many writers and literary critics have called the postcolonial condition. The journey that the magi took parallels Obi Okonkwo's journey from his home to England, where he experiences an intellectual and cultural birth that is more like death. When he returns to his home country, Nigeria, he feels culturally displaced. He is "no longer at ease" among his countrymen, with their religion and their way of life. Not only does Obi judge their lack of education (and their use of bribes to climb the corporate and government ladder), but he also feels many of their other customs are barbaric and should be eradicated as citizens embrace Christianity and/or Western education.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    "Our women made black patterns on their bodies with the juice of the uli tree. It was beautiful, but it soon faded. If it lasted two market weeks it lasted a long time. But sometimes our elders spoke about uli that never faded, although no one had ever seen it. We see it today in the writing of the white man. If you go to the native court and look at the books which clerks wrote twenty years ago or more, they are still as they wrote them. They do not say one thing today and another tomorrow, or "Our women made black patterns on their bodies with the juice of the uli tree. It was beautiful, but it soon faded. If it lasted two market weeks it lasted a long time. But sometimes our elders spoke about uli that never faded, although no one had ever seen it. We see it today in the writing of the white man. If you go to the native court and look at the books which clerks wrote twenty years ago or more, they are still as they wrote them. They do not say one thing today and another tomorrow, or one thing this year and another next year. In the Bible Pilate said: 'What is written is written.' It is uli that never fades."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paola

    Things continue falling apart, this time for Okonkwo's grandchild, Obi. I am not giving anything away here, as the novel starts off with the bad news for him. Even so, the writing is very engaging (and quite different from Things Fall Apart), and it is with trepidation, dread and dismay that I followed Obi's slow but relentless slide into catastrophe in mid '50s Nigeria. But as in Things Fall Apart) here too the story is a pretext to continue the dissection of two great themes - the tension betw Things continue falling apart, this time for Okonkwo's grandchild, Obi. I am not giving anything away here, as the novel starts off with the bad news for him. Even so, the writing is very engaging (and quite different from Things Fall Apart), and it is with trepidation, dread and dismay that I followed Obi's slow but relentless slide into catastrophe in mid '50s Nigeria. But as in Things Fall Apart) here too the story is a pretext to continue the dissection of two great themes - the tension between the individual and his kinship, and thate between the white coloniser and the colonised. Achebe's writing is, however, different - Obi is a "man of the book" and the writing is richer and more elegant than for Okonkwo's story, though the inability to cope with the unplanned and unexpected is the same. Excellent.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    No Longer at Ease is a story that carries on from Things Fall Apart. In this second instalment of The African Trilogy, we meet Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of Okonkwo. While the first book talked about sexism in traditional society and how the coming of missionaries completely destroyed a way of life, and consequently, a lot of people who were unable to adapt, this book clearly shows how the effects of colonisation and racism affects people. Everyone loves to joke about Nigerian scams and the daily No Longer at Ease is a story that carries on from Things Fall Apart. In this second instalment of The African Trilogy, we meet Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of Okonkwo. While the first book talked about sexism in traditional society and how the coming of missionaries completely destroyed a way of life, and consequently, a lot of people who were unable to adapt, this book clearly shows how the effects of colonisation and racism affects people. Everyone loves to joke about Nigerian scams and the daily corruption spread over third world countries. But why did this happen? This question is beautifully answered in No Longer at Ease. Newly returned from London after getting an education financed by his village, Obi Okonkwo is aware of his debt. However, while he had spent his time in England dreaming about his home country, the ground reality will prove to be quite different. Once he is back home and is able to get an "European job", much is expected of him. His tribe expects him to be their representative and draw everyone up with him. This proves to be impossible since Obi simply does not have the resources or the power to do so, but the villagers fail to understand. At the same time, he also feels interference into his love life from every angle. Obi is a good man in a casteist and sexist society grappling with racism and post-colonialism problems. But can being innately good, hardworking, and having egalitarian views stop you from committing crimes? Read and find out!

  9. 5 out of 5

    dianne (off seeking immunity)

    Chinua Achebe writes about the contrast of cultures so lovingly and empathically that one can’t help but bemoan colonialism, but feel a deep sadness over all that was lost. The West African humor, tradition, intrinsic sense of the FUN of right now, the presence of song and dance- really couldn’t be more divergent from the stiff upper lip, duty bound (no matter how absurd) Englishman of the time. As only Achebe can do, i was completely drawn in and cared about our unfortunate protagonist from the Chinua Achebe writes about the contrast of cultures so lovingly and empathically that one can’t help but bemoan colonialism, but feel a deep sadness over all that was lost. The West African humor, tradition, intrinsic sense of the FUN of right now, the presence of song and dance- really couldn’t be more divergent from the stiff upper lip, duty bound (no matter how absurd) Englishman of the time. As only Achebe can do, i was completely drawn in and cared about our unfortunate protagonist from the start. Beautifully and naturally we understand his motivations, and thus his actions and so his heartbreak. No one else (that i’ve found) can so lovingly teach us what is really important & the damage western imperialist cultures have done to it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    J. Trott

    So this is a book that anybody who has had to split two cultures or mesh them should read. It is about a young man who gets an English education and returns to his native Nigeria. Inevitably tribal obligations come into conflict with his new idealism related to corruption and progress. The title is a phrase from a T S Eliot poem, "The Journey of the Magi" and the lines are about how when the magi return after seeing the infant king to their own land they are "No longer at ease here, in the old d So this is a book that anybody who has had to split two cultures or mesh them should read. It is about a young man who gets an English education and returns to his native Nigeria. Inevitably tribal obligations come into conflict with his new idealism related to corruption and progress. The title is a phrase from a T S Eliot poem, "The Journey of the Magi" and the lines are about how when the magi return after seeing the infant king to their own land they are "No longer at ease here, in the old dispensation/ An alien people, clutching their gods/" If I had read this book after I returned from Uganda, I would have cried a lot. But that's not hard.

  11. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    In ‘No longer at Ease’ a Nigerian, Obi Okonkwo, was sent to University in England. His entire village pooled their resources for his tuition. He comes back a bit angry, more cosmopolitan, and with quite a lot of determination to succeed without succumbing to the corruption and commonplace bribery which allows Nigerian society to function in a crippled way. It doesn’t end well. The main character, Obi, despairs because he is only one low-level clerk fighting an avalanche of backward customs and c In ‘No longer at Ease’ a Nigerian, Obi Okonkwo, was sent to University in England. His entire village pooled their resources for his tuition. He comes back a bit angry, more cosmopolitan, and with quite a lot of determination to succeed without succumbing to the corruption and commonplace bribery which allows Nigerian society to function in a crippled way. It doesn’t end well. The main character, Obi, despairs because he is only one low-level clerk fighting an avalanche of backward customs and corrupt government. The plot takes place in 1956 before the English rescinded their territorial claims, but Nigerian independence will happen in a few more years. From the information I have read in recent stories in the news media Nigeria has not changed much since 1956, so instead of reading this novel as a low point in history that Nigeria has overcome, the story left this reader full of despair. It is still a country drowning in religions and tribal affiliations and family obligations and not enough education or middle-class wealth. It also still has much poverty and illiteracy, where the few resources end up in the pockets of the political elite instead of being spent on infrastructure, clean management and free education. The most interesting bits in the book concern the quick look at village religious stories and how ancient African religions mix it up with the new European faiths overlaid on top (not enough of a look, though). The author includes idiomatic conversations that I found difficult to follow, but not impossible. It is a quick read, and it is thought-provoking, and it gives a glimpse of an unfamiliar African culture (to me) ancient and modern. As always, the complete lack of logic of religion and the devastating harm of fundamental religious faith has me shaking my head in personal pain. Many religions unfortunately hold people back in economic security and social prosperity because those beliefs 'feel' good emotionally for an hour. I was surprised that animist religions are as reluctant as the more youthful "Book" faiths to permit any movement into modernity. Some folk read this as the story of the simple villager who is educated out of his village class and family belief structure, but yet is not savvy enough to navigate the tricky situation of being part of the next class a step up from his old place in society. I'm familiar with this story in my own family here in America. There are many who work and educate themselves out of the blue-collar neighborhoods where half of Americans live only to discover during holiday visits they no longer can speak openly with their less educated parents and siblings (there is a HUGE difference between a simple high school education and college). Adhering to manners and customs eventually smooths things over for most; however, Nigeria, as in many countries, has a tradition of owing your tribe of thousands of members, as well as having a duty to hundreds of family members, that does NOT have a strong tradition here in America. These obligations have the tendency to drown everyone rather than save one person from sinking. It is not a matter of pooling resources, it is the sorry condition of ONE person with ONE resource who is pressured by the hundreds of folk in his life without ANY resources to share. Ever try to split a slice of bread between 20 people? Everybody dies of starvation. This appears to be the condition of many citizens of traditional (that is, countries that seem to live by tribal or village relationship rules in existence for millennia, most of which are completely unworkable in the modern world), countries where family and religion are stronger than good federal or local government. Education PLUS a positive moral stance, AND a good supportive government, when genuinely pursued, in my opinion, are keys to bringing societies out of the dark ages of living the same way people lived in the year 1,000 AD, Gregorian calendar. Unfortunately, the elites in many societies have no interest in uplifting their less fortunate citizens since it might mean a turnover in their position in the Rich Folk Club. I've noticed, too, that the uneducated, impoverished citizens are frequently so horrified by the science, history and literature that comes with education they sometimes kill the teachers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    Corruption is the central theme of this novel, the second in Achebe’s African Trilogy that jumps ahead to Igbo strongman Okonkwo’s grandson Obi’s life in the 1950’s, on the eve of Nigeria’s independence from Great Britain. How does a young man, educated in Britain, with a strong moral belief in what is right and wrong, fall back into the very cesspool that he repudiates? Achebe takes us through a detailed set of incidents that tears at Obi’s convictions, stripping away his acquired cultural trapp Corruption is the central theme of this novel, the second in Achebe’s African Trilogy that jumps ahead to Igbo strongman Okonkwo’s grandson Obi’s life in the 1950’s, on the eve of Nigeria’s independence from Great Britain. How does a young man, educated in Britain, with a strong moral belief in what is right and wrong, fall back into the very cesspool that he repudiates? Achebe takes us through a detailed set of incidents that tears at Obi’s convictions, stripping away his acquired cultural trappings and reducing him to just another citizen in this nation where bribery is a way of life, as portrayed by the author. The question left in my mind: was bribery hard-wired into this society from the time of creation (the current 419 scams don’t help dispel that feeling) or was it brought about by the inequality that was deliberately fostered, first by tribal chieftains and later by colonial masters, where an expanding divide between the rulers and the ruled was allowed to develop for generations? Obi, as a bright kid from his village, is selected for greater things and falls into the “ruler” camp. His village sponsors his education abroad. As a returning British-educated son of the land, in whom Nigeria places its hope for governance after independence, he is immediately given a civil service job earning him ten times more than his peers, plus a car, a driver, a house, a cook and the other trappings of upper middle class life. But a liberal education only blurs prejudice which springs from tradition, superstition, race, caste, religion and sex. Obi is soon in love with British-educated Clara, who is osu, that is, of dubious ancestry; he is also having casual flings with other white women. And his bills are beginning to mount: he needs to pay back his village for their sponsorship, his car needs maintenance, he needs money for insurance, he has to look after his retired parents and pay for his younger sibling’s education. And above all, he is harassed by parents, friends and associates for planning to marry a woman whose ancestor transgressed to earn his progeny the eternal scorn of society. Like his father and grandfather before him, who bucked society and dared to be different, Obi defends his life choices, only to be ground down to become the person he despises. While grandfather Okonkwo was destroyed on the eve of the coming of the British, Obi is destroyed by his own people just as the British are about to depart. Achebe’s breaks the rules of novel craft and focuses instead on bringing out character and societal flaws, and therefore I found the style quirky in places and influenced, no doubt, by the oral tradition of his Igbo tribe. Obi comes across as impulsive and Clara can be jealous and cold. Achebe thinks it is more important to show a driver using his elbows to steer the car while lighting his cigarette than clearly and proportionately demarcating time and scene shifts in the novel. The local patois is hard to follow but lends authenticity to the dialogue. Poetry and song intrude into the narrative. Achebe’s political observations, which seem to be the prime motivation behind this trilogy, are quite astute: a) The locals want the British out—soon. b) The locals love to have a British subject serving under them, and they like the trappings of British life. c) Western culture, medicine and education are only skin deep in Nigeria. When pushed to the wall, the Nigerian reverts to his traditional self—true even of Obi and his family. Having read two books in the trilogy now and about to embark on the third, I find Achebe’s view of his country to be dim. There doesn’t appear to be much hope here. Testament to the fact that he too was nearly killed (an assassination attempt was not ruled out) and lived the rest of his life in America. The “father of African literature,” as he was called, was consigned to end his days amidst the western society that Obi returned from and self-destructed in Nigeria. A bitter irony.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    Reading No Longer at Ease was such a pleasure, as if I were walking barefoot, enjoying all things around me and taking in every little nuance. I truly loved the many parables scattered throughout. The book had such an easy natural flow that it put this reader quite at ease and so able to enjoy all it encompassed. Having read and delighted in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart several years ago, I was prepared for another literary joyride and I was certainly not disappointed. The story opens with the main Reading No Longer at Ease was such a pleasure, as if I were walking barefoot, enjoying all things around me and taking in every little nuance. I truly loved the many parables scattered throughout. The book had such an easy natural flow that it put this reader quite at ease and so able to enjoy all it encompassed. Having read and delighted in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart several years ago, I was prepared for another literary joyride and I was certainly not disappointed. The story opens with the main character, a young Nigerian, on trial for bribery and then takes us back to understand how this came to be. Achebe addresses conflicts of family, society, sexuality, morality, corruption, etc. and does so with a natural flowing subtlety. Obi Okonkwo, the central character, returns to Nigeria after studying in England, funded by his townsmen. After being away, he sees his homeland with new, often critical eyes, yet fondly recites poems he wrote while a student paying homage to Lagos. Not quite consciously aware of his resentment toward the British in London and more recently in Nigeria, he also is battling the generation gap and the old ways and the new ways. He is sunk before he even begins to swim. Obi’s love interest is Clara, a Nigerian nurse he met in London and was dazzled by. Unfortunately, she is an osu, or outcast, so customs forbid a marriage to Obi. Nonetheless, she accepts an engagement ring from Obi and they believe their love will prevail. Clara is a strong and hardworking woman and is devoted to Obi, yet not so certain their love is strong enough to see them through. An unforeseen event creates even more friction for the couple who are facing financial and familial difficulties. Love doesn’t always conquer all. Isaac Okonkwo, Obi’s father at first appears hard-nosed, however, it becomes evident that his decision to become a devoted Christian, against the will of his father, shows his willingness to be true to himself, such as his son is trying to do. His religious devotion is sometimes extreme as he insists his wife and children adhere to his strict rituals. Ironically, his zealousness prevents him from helping his son and they both miss the point of his being the most appropriate person to do so. Mr. Achebe is such a marvelous talent and one whose praises I sing. I’m sure he’d put me at ease were I to join him for a little chat over a small meal. I’d love to hear about his days growing up in Nigeria and his interest in world religion and politics. Of course, I’d attempt to get some pointers on his flawless writing. Here’s an author I will definitely return to. My rating for No Longer at Ease is a 10 out of 10.

  14. 4 out of 5

    BookishGlow

    Chinua Achebe efficaciously tackles questions of morality in the complex novel No Longer at Ease. Centered on the Umuofia native, Obi Okonkwo, Achebe develops a character who struggles with governmental corruption in the form of bribery, amongst other issues. No Longer at Ease opens with Obi on trial for a rather unfortunate misdeed. Achebe briefly exposes a defenseless and hopeless Obi before retracing the reader to the starting point of Obi’s story. Hence, readers are provided with a descriptio Chinua Achebe efficaciously tackles questions of morality in the complex novel No Longer at Ease. Centered on the Umuofia native, Obi Okonkwo, Achebe develops a character who struggles with governmental corruption in the form of bribery, amongst other issues. No Longer at Ease opens with Obi on trial for a rather unfortunate misdeed. Achebe briefly exposes a defenseless and hopeless Obi before retracing the reader to the starting point of Obi’s story. Hence, readers are provided with a description of Obi as a bright-eyed young man, returning to his hometown in Nigeria, upon completing his collegiate education in England. He is hailed as heroic among the Umuofia villagers for being awarded the first opportunity, by the Umuofian Progressive Union, to travel abroad on scholarship to receive a “white-man” education and returning with a degree. Obi accomplishes what is considered among the villagers as a seemingly impossible deed, and embodies an arrogant and smug persona. Within a few weeks of his return, Obi is given an honorable job with expectations to acquire and maintain financial security. However, Obi finds himself in unforeseen financial difficulties that leaves him questioning the notion of tradition versus progression within the Umuofia culture. Being brought up in a generation that will begin to use education as a tool against colonialism, Obi is faced with major decisions that will intensely re-examine the principles that he was raised on. If that is not enough, Obi meets a promising and beautiful young woman, who he falls in love with unabashed. When Obi is challenged about his love interest by the Umuofia Progressive Union, Obi quickly learns that power and money does not guarantee complete control in a culture filled with impenitent traditions concerning family and marriage. Achebe eloquently creates a character that is at a critical point in his life, where each major decision determines his fate. What happens when a heralded man of great promise and education, life changes drastically for misjudgments and poor decisions? In No Longer at Ease, Achebe further provides a mark within literature with his brilliant literary prose. I look forward to reading more of his work, and I highly recommend this book to others.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Chinua's second novel, following Things Fall Apart, jumps several generations in time. Obi Okonkwo, an Ibo from eastern Nigeria, has returned from university studies in England and takes a position as a civil servant in Lagos. Obi was the brightest boy from his village and had been granted a scholarship by the Umuafia Progressive Union, a social group that keeps current and former inhabitants of the village connected even after they move to other towns. He is a young man to whom much has been gi Chinua's second novel, following Things Fall Apart, jumps several generations in time. Obi Okonkwo, an Ibo from eastern Nigeria, has returned from university studies in England and takes a position as a civil servant in Lagos. Obi was the brightest boy from his village and had been granted a scholarship by the Umuafia Progressive Union, a social group that keeps current and former inhabitants of the village connected even after they move to other towns. He is a young man to whom much has been given and much is expected. But it is the mid 1950s and rapid change is the order of things. Soon enough, despite a salary beyond the wildest dreams of anyone from Umuafia, Obi finds himself short of funds, as he tries to keep up with a higher standard of living. In addition, he is engaged to a young woman who will never by accepted by his family or village because of an ancient curse that haunts her family. Tragedy looms and finally arrives. At first I missed the powerful story of Things Fall Apart. By the end I realized that it could not be the same. The tragedy is the same: the loss of certainty and the surrender of old tribal values in an effort to mix with the White Man. But the times are so different that Obi mistakenly hopes his modern views and education will see him through. Thus, it seems the story is more tawdry, less shocking. Not only have native Africans lost their spiritual center, so have the English and indeed much of the world. The horror of colonialism has become the commonplace. Yet Obi's efforts to carry on as an African while trying to assimilate into modern times are just as tragic as the headman's failure in Things Fall Apart. Things have fallen apart further.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    There is an ease to reading this book and yet, the whole thing makes one uneasy. No one likes debt. Life is expensive. Everything comes at a cost. Obi Okonkwo, grandson of the main character in “Things Fall Apart” has returned from England. A union paid his education and now he landed his first government job. Nice perks - an office, a secretary and good pay. He has a nice girlfriend. He should have a nice car. He contributes to his aging and financially struggling parents; offers to help with ed There is an ease to reading this book and yet, the whole thing makes one uneasy. No one likes debt. Life is expensive. Everything comes at a cost. Obi Okonkwo, grandson of the main character in “Things Fall Apart” has returned from England. A union paid his education and now he landed his first government job. Nice perks - an office, a secretary and good pay. He has a nice girlfriend. He should have a nice car. He contributes to his aging and financially struggling parents; offers to help with educational fees for his brother. Buys a ring for the girlfriend just when the car insurance is due. Then the electrical bill. His cook needs money for the food. The bills keep coming. A snowball effect. Poor Obi has his back to the wall. Every one who starts out after university goes through the same financial challenges. It’s just how we all deal with it that reveals who we are. Chinua Achebe has written a brilliant novel on the age old condition. However, when you add in the perspective of how the modernization (or colonization) of Nigeria has changed the past with the new, complicated by religion and race, then a whole other can of worms is opened. The heart of the matter leads to corruption. And that makes things very uneasy. A worthy read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    While Achebe is best known for Things Fall Apart, you'd be doing yourself quite the disservice to only read that volume. No Longer at Ease is Achebe's take on his time, when the newly independent Nigeria was really trying to find its place. It's very much a mid-century humanist novel, with social issues at the forefront, but it's a good one, and even though the symbolism can be a bit heavy at times, the novel doesn't come off as a didactic show-and-tell session. Given the recent popularity of Ch While Achebe is best known for Things Fall Apart, you'd be doing yourself quite the disservice to only read that volume. No Longer at Ease is Achebe's take on his time, when the newly independent Nigeria was really trying to find its place. It's very much a mid-century humanist novel, with social issues at the forefront, but it's a good one, and even though the symbolism can be a bit heavy at times, the novel doesn't come off as a didactic show-and-tell session. Given the recent popularity of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I wouldn't be surprised if more people were dusting Achebe's oeuvre off soon

  18. 4 out of 5

    W

    My first novel by an African author,and the second in Chinhua Achebe's African trilogy.Hugely impressive,the authentic flavour of Nigerian life and the social issues that blight the country,particularly corruption.Look forward to reading the other books in the trilogy,this is a wonderful writer. My first novel by an African author,and the second in Chinhua Achebe's African trilogy.Hugely impressive,the authentic flavour of Nigerian life and the social issues that blight the country,particularly corruption.Look forward to reading the other books in the trilogy,this is a wonderful writer.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elena Sala

    NO LONGER AT EASE (1960) is the second part of Chinua Achebe's celebrated trilogy. In THINGS FALL APART, the first part, Achebe's main concern is mostly the pre-colonial life in late-19th century Nigeria. This novel narrates the story of Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of the main character in THINGS FALL APART. Obi returns to Nigeria in the 1950s, after studying for a BA in England. Upon his return he finds a job in the Nigerian colonial civil service. Right from the start he experiences money pressur NO LONGER AT EASE (1960) is the second part of Chinua Achebe's celebrated trilogy. In THINGS FALL APART, the first part, Achebe's main concern is mostly the pre-colonial life in late-19th century Nigeria. This novel narrates the story of Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of the main character in THINGS FALL APART. Obi returns to Nigeria in the 1950s, after studying for a BA in England. Upon his return he finds a job in the Nigerian colonial civil service. Right from the start he experiences money pressures: his family needs financial assistance and he needs to pay back his student loan to the tribal organisation that paid for his studies in England. Obi has difficulty managing his finances and despite his initial resistance and his outrage against the corrupt system, he will gradually succumb into taking bribes in his government post to augment his income. NO LONGER AT EASE is a short novel which manages to provide an insight into Nigerian post-colonial society, of a country balancing between Western and African values and lifestyles. Educated young people must endure enormous pressure because they belong neither in the traditional society of their parents and grandparents, nor fully in the world of the expatriate colonials. It is not a memorable novel, though. The ending felt very abrupt and too contrived and the whole novel lacks the nuance found in the first part.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monika

    How far can one move from her/his place of birth? The journey back home, if undertaken, can it be similar to what it was before? Is the change nominal? Exactly who has changed in the absence - is it the home or is it the person? These are but a few questions that No Longer At Ease (1960) by Chinua Achebe made me ponder upon. Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of Okonkwo of Achebe's debut novel Things Fall Apart (1958), comes back from England as the first person in his village, Umuofia, to have finished How far can one move from her/his place of birth? The journey back home, if undertaken, can it be similar to what it was before? Is the change nominal? Exactly who has changed in the absence - is it the home or is it the person? These are but a few questions that No Longer At Ease (1960) by Chinua Achebe made me ponder upon. Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of Okonkwo of Achebe's debut novel Things Fall Apart (1958), comes back from England as the first person in his village, Umuofia, to have finished his studies abroad with the 'scholarship'. The expense of Obi's education was borne by Umuofia Progressive Union which was formed by the Umuofians who were abroad "with the aim of collecting money to send some of their brighter young men to study in England". Obi gets a "'European post' in the civil service" and his monthly expenditure, among other things, includes paying back the 'scholarship', sending money home for his family as well as for paying the fees of his brother and the monthly installments of the car he has bought. In the novel, Obi faces a similar tussle like his grandfather. Torn between the image of his home before he went to England and the merciless reality after homecoming, Obi is no longer at ease. As a person whose father had accepted Christianity and who has returned from England after finishing his studies, he finds disparities with the people around him and is ill at ease with them. The Britishers chide him for everything that the Nigerians do wrong — even if the wrong was first spread by them — and he has his differences with the people of his village. In a world that is breaking apart with the tug of war of independence, just like his grandfather, Obi finds himself alone. Achebe's journalistic writing continues in this novel and as an omniscient narrator, he portrayed a representation of the conflict. The most striking aspect of the author's language is his sparse, rigid and journalistic writing style. These are the same characteristics that take away the pleasure I find in reading. In a way, it is justifiable. Things are falling apart and one is not expected to find delight in it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Morton

    An excellent story of a young (once idealistic) man's fall from grace; his effortless slide into corruption both serving as a stand in for Nigeria's political situation at the time Achebe was writing, and also directly affected and driven by that same situation within the narrative itself. Deals with many of the same themes prevalent in African literature from this time: conflict between tradition and modernity; Christianity vs ancestral teachings; socio-political impact of colonial rule, and bot An excellent story of a young (once idealistic) man's fall from grace; his effortless slide into corruption both serving as a stand in for Nigeria's political situation at the time Achebe was writing, and also directly affected and driven by that same situation within the narrative itself. Deals with many of the same themes prevalent in African literature from this time: conflict between tradition and modernity; Christianity vs ancestral teachings; socio-political impact of colonial rule, and both the attempt to distance from rule, yet also the emulation of the rule through rigid class structure. The book starts out with a light and humorous tone (even though it begins with Obi's downfall), yet it grows progressively darker as it goes along. The book is brief but manages to capture a great deal of complexity and nuance in Obi's descent; when he finally starts taking bribes it feels like a natural evolution of the character's situation, while being far removed from the Obi who returned from England, despite the small time elapsed. Really well done little book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben Dutton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Chinua Achebe’s second novel, No Longer at Ease, published in 1960, is a then contemporary story of modern Nigeria. It is a Nigeria of contrasting religions, where modernity is in competition with tradition, a land of political corruption and western night clubs. Into this fray walks Obi Okonkwo, an honest man with an English university education, seeking to improve himself and his country, full of optimism and infused with pride, he knows how life should be. But this is 1950s Lagos, where every Chinua Achebe’s second novel, No Longer at Ease, published in 1960, is a then contemporary story of modern Nigeria. It is a Nigeria of contrasting religions, where modernity is in competition with tradition, a land of political corruption and western night clubs. Into this fray walks Obi Okonkwo, an honest man with an English university education, seeking to improve himself and his country, full of optimism and infused with pride, he knows how life should be. But this is 1950s Lagos, where everyman is out to make a fast buck, and have little concern upon whom they trample. The question Achebe poses is this: how can an honest man survive in this melee? Can there be hope for modern Nigeria? In his introduction to the 1988 Picador collection, The African Trilogy (that contains Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God), Achebe says of No Longer at Ease, and in response to V S Pritchard’s comment at the end of his review of Things Fall Apart that Achebe’s second novel would be difficult to write: “No Longer at Ease was the second I wrote and it managed, by that fact perhaps, to inherit all the difficulty the critic had prophesied. I personally consider it as good of its kind as I am capable of fabricating, but I don’t think it has been very well understood. Perhaps it will have better luck now.” (P.10) Much of Achebe’s difficulty may have been borne of the fact that No Longer at Ease was not the novel he had initially set out to write. He talks in the introduction of originally planning one long novel that would explore three generations of Ibo men, but when that proved too challenging he broke it down into three separate novels. No Longer at Ease was to have been the story of his fathers generation, but as he says, “The major problem was this: my father’s generation were the very people after all who, no matter how sympathetically one wished to look upon their predicament, did open the door to the white man. But could I, even in the faintest, most indirect, most delicate allusiveness, dare to suggest that my father may have been something… of… a traitor?” (p.10) So with this second generation skipped, Achebe turned to his own for No Longer at Ease. The portrait of modern Nigeria that Achebe paints in this novel is not a handsome one. Whereas in Things Fall Apart the Obi tribe had been painted with grace, almost every figure Obi meets in this book is dishonest in some manner. Even the villagers who come to see Obi to help their children gain a university education are not above bribery, and even the children themselves are dishonest, the girls coming to offer sexual favours to ensure a place. This it seems is how Africans are seen so they must act that way. As Mr Green, Obi’s boss in the civil service explains: “The African is corrupt through and through.” (p.175) Obi tries to buck the system, to retain his dignity. He sends money home to his family, he repays debts instantly and in full, even if he has time in which to pay them. He falls in love with a bright, educated woman called Clara. Clara, like Obi, is Ibo. Here the first great clash of his life occurs. Clara is osu, an outcast, and in his tribe no one can marry an osu, for it would bring great shame upon his family. “Osu is like leprosy in the minds of our people. I beg of you, my son, not to bring the mark of shame and of leprosy into your family.” (p.282) Obi replies: “But all that is going to change. In ten years things will be quite different to what they are now.” (p.282) He also argues: “I don’t think it matters. We are Christians.” (p.281) For if they are Christian how can old tribal religion hold sway? Here we see the clash how the class between the two religions in Things Fall Apart has finally played out. Though Christianity is the dominant religion, the old ways still hold power. The battle never ended. But Obi remains indignant, and honest. He will still marry Clara, despite the shame. Only modern Nigeria will not let him. Obi’s financial situation becomes desperate, and he is too proud to ask for money. He economizes: “In future the water-heater must not be turned on. I will have cold baths. The fridge must be switched off at seven o’clock in the evening and on again at twelve noon.” (p.255) These absurd money saving exercises reveal a man being undone by his very nature. He must maintain his standing in the community, for the community paid for his English university education to get him into the position he now holds and so he cannot be seen to disappoint, and yet at every turn this life is destroying him. During the opening of No Longer at Ease we meet Obi on trial. The judge says: “I cannot comprehend how a young man of your education and brilliant promise could have done this.” (p.174) Achebe’s second novel is a deconstruction of how this could have happened, and in it he seems to be saying that it is Africa itself that is to blame, for it does not help itself, it only steals. A damning indictment that won Achebe the Nigerian National Trophy. But perhaps the T. S. Eliot quote that opens the book points to a different reading. From The Journey of the Magi: “We returned to our places, these Kingdoms But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.” If Achebe is true in what he states his intention to be, for this work to have been a second, or perhaps a third part of one long narrative, then perhaps the final reading should be that it is not Africa that has destroyed itself, but the fact that it surrendered. That it turned its back on the gods that ruled when we first met the happy, contented people at the start of Things Fall Apart. If they had just held, and not yielded, an honest man in Africa might still be at ease.

  23. 4 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    Not quite as enjoyable as the first book, Things Fall Apart, but a decent sequel nonetheless. Although many of the circumstances that were faced by the father in the first book are dealt with by the son here (i.e. social status) these issues are presented in different ways, a generation later, with a somewhat more modern feel. It shows that even with the changes between generations, many things remain the same. 3.5/5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    4.5 It was a great continuation of the first book, but I have to say that the first novel is still my favorite. Just because it had many more indigenous traditions and life in it. This second book is much modern and deals with the problem of corruption in the government. However, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vince

    Not my favorite of the African trilogy( that belongs to "Things fall apart ") but not a bad book. I'd recommend if you want to complete the trilogy. Not my favorite of the African trilogy( that belongs to "Things fall apart ") but not a bad book. I'd recommend if you want to complete the trilogy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    No Longer At Ease is the second book in The African Trilogy, with Things Fall Apart being the first. I ended up not reading the books in order but I don't reading in order is necessary. I do think Things Fall Apart is the strongest book in the collection with No Longer At Ease being the runner up. In No Longer At Ease we meet Obi Okonkwo, he recently returned from studying in the UK. He was one of the few persons offered a scholarship to go abroad to study. As part of his scholarship he must ret No Longer At Ease is the second book in The African Trilogy, with Things Fall Apart being the first. I ended up not reading the books in order but I don't reading in order is necessary. I do think Things Fall Apart is the strongest book in the collection with No Longer At Ease being the runner up. In No Longer At Ease we meet Obi Okonkwo, he recently returned from studying in the UK. He was one of the few persons offered a scholarship to go abroad to study. As part of his scholarship he must return to Nigeria to work as a civil servant to repay his part of his scholarship. Achebe covers a lot in his novel, more specifically how Obi saddles his new position as a civil servant while trying to provide for his family who are still in the village. An insightful read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hanaan

    This was clearly written, culturally fascinating, and had a strong sense of truth. However, it also had a strong sense of foreboding which I found frightening and didn't really like. In fact, I am not sure what books like this are trying to do. Explain how good people fall into corruption? Explain why Nigeria is how it is? Place blame? Achebe's allegory is universal, and is as insightful as anything, but it is frustrating that it doesn't manage to fully answer the awful questions it raises. This was clearly written, culturally fascinating, and had a strong sense of truth. However, it also had a strong sense of foreboding which I found frightening and didn't really like. In fact, I am not sure what books like this are trying to do. Explain how good people fall into corruption? Explain why Nigeria is how it is? Place blame? Achebe's allegory is universal, and is as insightful as anything, but it is frustrating that it doesn't manage to fully answer the awful questions it raises.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nasensebula

    Amazing book, na wow factor by Chinua Achebe for me. Obi was quite a fascinating character. Pretty much what was elucidated in this book is what is going on even today... CORRUPTION, RELIGION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF WHERE ONE COMES FROM.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mobyskine

    A light and straightforward read although it highlighted the issue of corruption, but somehow I fall for its narration and the character itself. Love how the title actually adapted from one of T. S. Eliot's poem; The Journey of the Magi' (the author includes an excerpt of this poem during the intro), and the main character is a fan of poetry too. Engaging and unique cause it works backward after a trial scene of Obi in the court due to his bribery case. For some reason I feel sorry for Obi, his A light and straightforward read although it highlighted the issue of corruption, but somehow I fall for its narration and the character itself. Love how the title actually adapted from one of T. S. Eliot's poem; The Journey of the Magi' (the author includes an excerpt of this poem during the intro), and the main character is a fan of poetry too. Engaging and unique cause it works backward after a trial scene of Obi in the court due to his bribery case. For some reason I feel sorry for Obi, his struggles to balance the demand of his family as well as his own feeling and obstacles. I don't like Clara that much, her existence influencing Obi's personalities so much that it irks me. Love the writing and development of Obi's life/character which greatly done-- his perspective and all the lovey-dovey drama, that pinch of tradition (love it when the dialogue includes African language/slang), friendship and family and how it ended with a huge depression that lead to Obi's wrongful act. A great fiction of culture and social critics, would probably get the other two books in the trilogy next time!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aine

    “Real tragedy is never resolved. It goes on hopelessly for ever. Conventional tragedy is too easy. The hero dies and we feel a purging of the emotions. A real tragedy takes place in a corner, in an untidy spot, to quote W. H. Auden. The rest of the world is unaware of it.” On his return to Nigeria after four years in England studying for an English degree, Obi Okonkwo says these words to the Chairman of the Public Service Commission interviewing him for a senior civil service position. Obi gets th “Real tragedy is never resolved. It goes on hopelessly for ever. Conventional tragedy is too easy. The hero dies and we feel a purging of the emotions. A real tragedy takes place in a corner, in an untidy spot, to quote W. H. Auden. The rest of the world is unaware of it.” On his return to Nigeria after four years in England studying for an English degree, Obi Okonkwo says these words to the Chairman of the Public Service Commission interviewing him for a senior civil service position. Obi gets the job, visits family, sets up a home, frustrates the members of the Umuofia Progressive Union, spends time hanging around with friends, deals with the racism of his manager, and hopes to marry his girlfriend. But as the book reaches those final pages, with Obi’s mother having died, his girlfriend gone, his debts mounting, it’s difficult not to remember those earlier words with unease and think “this is not going to be a satisfying ending”. While Okonkwo’s suicide was misunderstood by the colonial officials in the final, bitter, chapter of Things Fall Apart, Obi’s actions - the decision to start takin bribes - is misunderstood by everyone surrounding him. I was lent No Longer At Ease by a friend and would definitely recommend to a friend (though I might check that they were in a good humour first).

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