Chris's Reviews > No Longer at Ease

No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe
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Jul 23, 2008

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Read in July, 2008

This doesn't have the emotional punch of Things Fall Apart, but I don't know that that makes this story of a young Obi Okonkwo--the grandson of TFA's protagonist--trapped between his Igbo heritage and English education any less tragic. It feels far more inevitable than its predecessor as we know how Obi will fall from the opening pages, and as such it feels tidier, less open to interpretation, perhaps even more didactic. Chaucer said a tale should deliver both sentence and solace (roughly instruction and enjoyment), and this falls heavy on the sentence. Still, Achebe creates characters hemmed in by the larger forces at work in their societies with such subtlety that I always find myself deeply sympathetic toward characters I don't particularly like, and that's no easy trick.
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