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.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 144 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 28/01/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780141191553
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Review by fieldnotes
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.