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No Longer at Ease (1960)

by Chinua Achebe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: African Trilogy (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2741911,508 (3.7)94
Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who, thanks to the privileges of an education in Britain, 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 backhanders and corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes that are offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl - to the disapproval of his parents - he sinks further into emotional and financial turmoil. The lure of easy money becomes harder to refuse, and Obi becomes caught in a trap he cannot escape. Showing a man lost in cultural limbo, and a Nigeria entering a new age of disillusionment, No Longer at Ease concludes Achebe's remarkable trilogy charting three generations of an African community under the impact of colonialism, the first two volumes of which are Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God.… (more)
  1. 10
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Limelite)
    Limelite: The prequel.
  2. 10
    Daniel by Henning Mankell (Limelite)
    Limelite: More exploitative in its exploration of African colonialism and set in the 19th C. Shares tone and literary quality.
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» See also 94 mentions

English (18)  Galician (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
grandson of earlier character convicted of taking bribes after English education earns sr. govt. position
  ritaer | Aug 24, 2021 |
A classic story of moral struggle in an age of turbulent social change and the final book in Chinua Achebe’s The African Trilogy
  riselibrary_CSUC | Jun 6, 2020 |
NO LONGER AT EASE is a beautifully realized tug-of-war with a human being as the rope. Obi Okonkwo returns to Africa after being educated in England thinking that he pretty much knows who he is. The ease with which he defines himself is tested as soon as he gets off the boat and begins his new life. Obi is caught between white and black cultures, European and African mindsets, poverty versus affluence, family versus personal and even how a man deals with women. Author Chinua Achebe does not allow Obi to battle one conflict at a time but instead marvelously shows how there might be multiple issues pulling on either side of the rope at any given time. In the midst of Obi's battles, the novel deftly ribs everyone with a soft touch. Characters cannot help but reveal themselves. As they so often fall back on the clichés of their own cultures and natures, they reveal how limited their understanding of the world around them really is. Obi is blind to some of the things that might make his life easier (for someone facing financial worries, it never occurs to him to dismiss his driver or his houseboy) but the author allows us to see it if we will--nothing is forced at the reader. The world is presented and the reader has to realize what Obi does not on their own. While Achebe's previous book THINGS FALL APART deals with a community and culture being destroyed dramatically by advancing machines spewing black smoke and death, NO LONGER AT EASE shows a slower crumbling destruction without a clue what if anything might rise from the debris. While I liked the previous book better--probably because on a human level it was easier to follow a protagonist who truly knew who he was--I still enjoyed this one though I wish it had more to it. At a light 154 pages, I wished it had a little more heft to it. Would like to have known a little bit more about a lot of other characters and learned more about Obi's culture but it is the rope and what the rope feels like as it gets pulled that is emphasized and not those pulling on the rope. ( )
  KurtWombat | Sep 15, 2019 |
A look at the struggle between African and Western cultures in Nigeria right before Independence as told from an English educated Nigerian's life. ( )
  snash | Jan 27, 2019 |
The promise and corruption of the education and integration of Obi (a young Nigerian) into the European system and the ways that this fails. ( )
  brakketh | Dec 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chinua Achebeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Onobrakpeya, BruceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For three or four weeks Obi Okonkwo had been steeling himself against this moment.
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Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who, thanks to the privileges of an education in Britain, 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 backhanders and corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes that are offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl - to the disapproval of his parents - he sinks further into emotional and financial turmoil. The lure of easy money becomes harder to refuse, and Obi becomes caught in a trap he cannot escape. Showing a man lost in cultural limbo, and a Nigeria entering a new age of disillusionment, No Longer at Ease concludes Achebe's remarkable trilogy charting three generations of an African community under the impact of colonialism, the first two volumes of which are Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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