No Longer At Ease
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No Longer At Ease (The African Trilogy #2)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  2,809 ratings  ·  180 reviews
The story of a man whose foreign education has separated him from his African roots and made him parts of a ruling elite whose corruption he finds repugnant.More than thirty years after it was first written, this novel remains a brilliant statement on the challenges still facing African society....more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published March 12th 1982 by Fawcett Books (first published 1960)
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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 , convinced that eve...more
Anshupriya Goswamy
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...more
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...more
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...more
Lisa
At first glance it’s a straightforward cautionary tale. Obi Okonkwo has been a fool. The novel begins with the judge who convicts him for corruption expressing his astonishment that a young man with a good education and such brilliant prospects should have come to this. Flashbacks explain how one thing led to another and Obi succumbed to temptation as he failed to make the transition from village life to city bureaucrat. At this level the book can be read as a coming-of-age gone awry as we see h...more
Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
George Hamilton
The book is set in Nigeria during the 1950’s. Obi returns to Nigeria from England, where he had studied for his degree, to take up a good paying job in the civil service in Lagos. On his journey home he meets Clara, a Nigerian who trained to be a Nurse in England, and he wants to marry her. But Clara is an osu, and Obi’s parents and his kinsmen from Umofomia do not want him to marry her. Obi must also negotiate the corrupt world of the civil service where citizens wanting their children to gain...more
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...more
Babydoll
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...more
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.
Kurt
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 allo...more
aPriL purrs 'n hisses
A village African from Nigeria is sent to University in England after his entire village pools their resources for his tuition. He comes back a bit angry and quite a lot determined to succeed without succumbing to the corruption and commonplace bribery which allows Nigerian society to function in a crippled way. It takes place in 1956, before the English release their territorial claims but it is a few short years away from Nigerian independence. From the information in recent stories in the new...more
El
This 1960 sequel to Achebe's Things Fall Apart is the story of Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of the protagonist in Things Fall Apart. Obi has the opportunity and fortune to study in Britain, and in the process is more removed from his African roots. At times it reminded me of American novels of the turn-of-the-century in which the main character, usually a young woman, leaves her home for a bigger city and is confronted by opposition - like Dreiser's Sister Carrie. Obi is the one who needs to make d...more
Joanna
Obi Okonkwo, the grandson of Okonkwo, returns to Nigeria after acquiring his prestigious, "white" education from England. As he returns, he becomes conflicted with the old traditional values and his modernized/westernized ideas. He becomes part of the ruling elite, in this case a step down from being a "superior" white. I appreciate this novel because it presents the conflicting ideas in a clear way. For those who are from or know about Nigeria and West Africa, the story seems very real...and sa...more
Nathaniel
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 gover...more
Larry
Another great one by Chinua Achebe. In the early 1950s, a village collects money to send Obi, a bright young student, to get a university degree in England. Obi returns with his degree, determined to be part of a young generation who will build a strong independent Nigeria. He is determined to cast off the corrupt ways of the old guard, who used their government positions for self-enrichment rather than public service.

Once he returnes, however, he is torn between the old ways - both the rural vi...more
Jendella
'No Longer at Ease' is once again another great story from Chinua Achebe. It is a story that transcends its time, setting and even narrative to speak to the concerns of the human condition. It is almost the sequel to 'Things Fall Apart', the greater backdrop being the colonisation of Nigeria and the complexities that it brings to the original culture.

I admire the way that Chinua Achebe creates characters that although you wouldn't necessarily call them likable, you sympathise with their situatio...more
Becca
I had a really hard time going through this book. Just couldn't relate to the characters and for me this is somehow a fail. I think it's important when the reader likes the characters and feels for them. I couldn't find it here.

Still, I know that Chinua Achebe is a great author and a man of thought. The style was good and sometimes there were some really interesting quotes - like all the political references and commentaries. But overall it wasn't a book I enjoyed.

THE COVER
I liked the cover an...more
Clay
I was taught that Chinua Achebe argued that literature must always have a political or social meaning in order to be worth reading. "L'art pour l'art" is supposed out of the question for him. Africa is obviously a continent in which social and political questions were of a huge importance (as if it wasn't the case in our Western society, duuuuh) and so I see why Achebe felt that way but I simply think that art for its own sake is what makes the greatest novels. Of course in most cases there is a...more
Keren Zhu
"[He] was in England a little under four years. He sometimes found it difficult to believe that it was as short as that. It seemed more like a decade than four years, what with the miseries of winter when his longing to return home took on the sharpness of physical pain. It was England that [his home] first became more than just a name to him. That was the first great thing that England did for him. But the home he returned to was in many ways different from the picture he carried in his mind du...more
Pete Marchetto
['No Longer at Ease' is the second of Chinua Achebe's 'African Trilogy'. Though it may be read entirely independently of the 'Things Fall Apart', the preceding work, it benefits from it having been read given that the central character is the grandson of Okonkwo, the central character of the first novel. The two works together provide contrast in the change from the early days of British colonisation to the period here, the 1950s-1960s, when the British presence is well-established. In each, the...more
David Kenvyn
One of the less well known works of the great Chinua Achebe, which should be as well known as "Things Fall Apart" or "Anthills of the Savannah". It is a brilliantly told story of how a young man falls into the ways of corruption, despite his determination not to do so. This is a book that should be savoured, and should have a far wider readership.
Wale
It was interesting to discover that some 'Nigerian' thought patterns and values that I consider corruptive and always assumed were distinct to my generation already existed way before my time.
We instinctively look back on the distant past with some idealistic nostalgia, but the truth is there has never been an innocent age.
Karen A. Lloyd
Like its predecessor Things Fall Apart, No Longer At Ease centres around the clash of European and African cultures and the inherent disillusionment that results from such a clash.

Obi capitulates to corruption (bribery) because of his unsuccessful straddling of the materialist European culture and the customs of his native African culture during colonialism.

The novel does a good job showing what life is like in Lagos and Umuofia via the setting and the themes explored and satisfies my interest i...more
Mena
Left me "no longer at ease." Achebe's sparse, elegant language is a perfect foil for the intensity of the story - Obi's experiences being caught at the "crossroads of cultures" (indeed, civilisations) perfectly encompass what it means to be a "post-colonial" Nigerian.
Bongani Mdaki
One of the wisest writers Paulo Coelho once said ''It is not time that changes man nor knowledge the only thing that can change someone's mind is love" in the book Chinua Achebe ridicules it and say its only looking at one side of the coin.
"Love is undoubtedly one of the things capable of changing a person's whole life from one moment to the next. Bit there is a another side of the coin, the second thing that can make a human being take a totally different course from the one he or she had plan...more
Tiffany
On its surface, this story is about a young Nigerian man sponsored by his tribe to study in England so that he can obtain a good paying government job upon his return. Mostly, though, this is about the expectations of power and status and the corruption that inevitably follows. It's depressing. I was hoping he wouldn't turn into the kind of person he initially hated, taking bribes and representing the British power structure, even though I knew he would (the story starts with his trial for takin...more
Theresa
No direction, disappointing

No direction, disappointing

This is the second novel that I've read by this author, with Things Fall Apart being the first. I just felt that this story had no real direction and begged the question, what is the point. While I understood his struggle between the traditions of old and the modern mindset of the European educated elite, the story as a whole was disjointed without any real purpose. The end was abrupt and seem to be more of an afterthought. As a reader, I nev...more
Anisha
At face value, No Longer at Ease is a straightforward backstory of a man's eventual corruption. Achebe, however, masterfully and efficaciously weaves intricacies into his tale, encouraging the reader to see every character as a universe unto him or herself, each coming to terms with galaxies of raw emotion, memories and new experiences. Achebe also makes pithy statements and astute observations about both Nigerian and English cultures that I, navigating a similar divide, appreciated. While the b...more
Nelson Lowhim
Holy... I loved things fall apart. Heard that this was the second book in the trilogy and picked it up. As good as Fall Apart was, this is a level above. Simply in awe of the crisp language, the perfectly weighted moments of reflection, tradition, forging forward, emotion and description. Simply floored and I wonder why I haven't heard as much about this book. Also not sure why some people don't like it. It's not a plot-driven book. The character is human. But it's beautiful and feels real. depe...more
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Chinua Achebe was a novelist, poet, professor at Brown University and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature.

Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religion...more
More about Chinua Achebe...
Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) Arrow of God A Man of the People Anthills of the Savannah There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra

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