No Longer at Ease

No Longer at Ease

by Chinua Achebe

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No Longer at Ease 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yay
Isgodchekhov on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Na so dis world be¿Since it has a bearing on my review of Chinua Achebe¿s 1960 follow up novel to his monumental first work, Things Fall Apart, I will confess here that my first reaction to reading Thing¿s Fall Apart was a shrug of my mind¿s shoulders¿It struck me then as a tragic story admirably told, but unremarkable. For whatever reason, I had overlooked its subtleties, and Okwonko¿s plight did not draw me in. It could have been that I was lulled by the narrative¿s calm voice and simple seeming language¿The protagonist of No Longer At Ease, Obi Okwonko is the grandson of the first novel¿s protagonist, Okwonko. The setting has shifted two generations in time and 500 miles away from Okwonkos¿ fictional Ibo village of Umuofia to Lagos, Nigeria. It¿s third person narrator focused mainly from Obi, unfolds the story in chronological order AFTER the opening chapter. Or to put it another way, the entire narrative is one long flashback after the opening. The first section of the first chapter takes the reader inside a Lagos courtroom where Obi is on trial for bribery, and the third section is a scene where his Ibo kinsmen are holding an emergency meeting of the Umuofia Progressive Union to discuss their position on supporting their `prodigal son¿. Where we then fade back to the Obi Okwonko¿s apprenticeship¿Obi `has book¿, he has been college educated, having been sent to England on a scholarship loan scraped together by the poor townsfolk as part of The Progressive Union, their attempt to give their kinsmen¿s son¿s and daughter¿s a chance for a future in the ever changing society. Obi is outspoken and headstrong, like his grandfather. Attention is made to this by a tribal elder when he returns to his rural village in a hometown-boy-makes-good sort of welcome feast. In a doubly ironic application of biblical scripture that the Ibo repeat as their adherence to the old ways, while also a portent for later events:¿Remark him¿, said Odogwu. ¿He is Oguefi Ogwonko come back. He is Okwonko kpom-kwem, exact, perfect¿Obi¿s father cleared his throat in embarrassment. ¿Dead men do not come back, ¿ he said.¿I tell you this is Okwonko. As it was in the beginning so it will be in the end.. That is what your religion tell us¿Our hero¿s education in the ways of the world of modern Lagos is a painful one. He has taken his degree in English rather than Law against the plans of his Ibo Union. He has widened his cultural perspective and with it, he has developed ideals about how to improve the system of Civil advancement in his Nigeria that is driven by bribery. We get a foretaste of it when a bus he is riding in is pulled over by young military `officers¿ ostensibly checking the driver¿s license. Obi asks the driver why he agreed to pay the bribe, the reply `Na so dis world be¿¿The novel draws out the complexity of Nigeria¿s state of flux, morally, spiritually, and psychologically. More importantly Achebe manages keep authorial distance in a calm, wise voice¿Obi sees himself as a pioneer for cultural adaptation. His ideals are tested in a city that his Ibo kinsmen have warned him hold temptations too great for him. Achebe does a skillful job of balancing our perspective of the opposing cultural forces at play, examining the very human consequences at the intersection when two culture¿s world views misunderstand each other. As in the earlier novel, wrestling is associated subtextually with confrontation on the deeper level, of struggling with old ways. Obi is seen by his clansmen as challenging his chi (personal gods) to personal combat. His clan¿s forbearance with him is tested (its important to remember the blood ties here, he is under obligations to meet their expectations as their bright hope), at one point they call him a ¿Beast O no nation¿¿. Obi¿s moral courage, his dignity of holding to his ideals is challenged by choices he is finally forced to make. He bears the shame and guilt of a betrayer, but he can be only be a betrayer: of either his i
fieldnotes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Chinua Achebe's reputation earns too much exposure for his jaded and pessimistic stories about how the traditions, cultures and institutions of Africa inevitably destroy its most promising individuals."No Longer At Ease" frames the gradual undoing of a young man saddled with being the collective investment of his rural Nigerian community. Their fraternal society pay for his school fees and sponsor his European education so that he can return to Nigeria and use his credentials to acquire a government job that gives him leverage to advance the fraternal society his friends and his family.Watch as financial pressures weaken the integrity and resolve of this young man who can't even enjoy the love of his favorite woman because she is tainted by the magical thinking of his tribe. A cast of stereotypes and caricatures accompany our protagonist through a demoralizing series of mundane misfortunes (Oh no! I didn't realize that I had to pay for car insurance! Hospital bills for my mother!). As these non-events unfold, a few representatives of white civilization shake their heads over cold beers in the country club, so disappointed in the lost potential.The book lacks imagination, it lacks joy, it lacks style and it lacks importance. It's ripe for a generic high school essay; but it doesn't merit an unforced reading. Skip.
Smiley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as good as "Things Fall Apart" but nearly so. In some ways more subtle than the first novel, but also trapped in early 60's. Not as universal as "Things" and does not hold up as well.
amurphy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sequal to Things Fall Apart. Obi Okonkwo, grandson to Okonkwo, returns to Nigera after four years of education in England. Finding a job within the government, he finds himself in between two worlds, the traditions of his people clashing with the expectations of an evolving society. An excellent book showing that as Africans become more accepting of the changes brought by the West, they are still caught within the beliefs of their ancestors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He writes of his own people with a fluency of language which is remarkable in its' beauty. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wept a single tear. ;-:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can cry no longer. <br> They tell me I'm strong, that I hide my emotions well. <br> If only they knew, <br> That I've run out of tears. <p> I can heed them no longer. <br> They offer me pity gift-wrapped in sympathetic words. <br> So much so, that I suffocate in the discarded piles. <p> I can listen no longer. <br> All I hear is the endless, blank apologies that run on like a river of agony. <br> Better to hear nothing at all. <p> I can comprehend no longer. <br> They say they understand. <br> But it's all lies. <br> All of it. <p> I can feel no longer. <br> They tell me tomkku breath easy. <br> To rest, relax, and forget. <br> The sharp pain that echoes my heart-beat tells me otherwise. <br> Because it cannot be done. I cannot forget. <p> I can live no longer. <br> They tell me after the rain comes a rainbow. <br> But the monsoon has been going on for years. <br> And there's only so much water you can take before you sink. <br> And I've tried bailing, dumping the weight away. <br> But it just keeps on coming. <br> And now it's time to abandon ship. <p> &infin [Anonymous] &infin
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Achebe writes beautifully and is truly a master of his craft. The story is poigniant and displays some of the difficulties faced by a colonized country. Fantastic Nigerian proverbs included.