No Longer at Ease
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The second book in Achebe’s “African trilogy”: A classic story of personal and moral struggle as well as turbulent social conflict.
When Obi Okonkwo—grandson of Okonkwo, the main character in Things Fall Apart—returns to Nigeria from England in the 1950s, his foreign education separates him from his African roots. He’s becoming a part of a ruling elite whose corruption he finds repugnant. Forced to choose between traditional values and the demands of a changing world, he finds himself trapped between the expectations of his family, his village, and the larger society around him. With unequaled clarity and poignancy, Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease remains a brilliant statement of the challenges facing Nigeria today.
the telephone. “I have sixty pounds in my pocket, and I’m getting my car at two o’clock.” Clara screamed with delight. “Shall I ring Sam and tell him not to bother to send his car this evening?” The Hon. Sam Okoli, Minister of State, had asked them to drinks and had offered to send his driver to fetch them. Clara lived in Yaba with her first cousin. She had been offered a job as Assistant Nursing Sister, and she would start work in a week or so. Then she would find more suitable lodgings. Obi
were fond of taking other men’s wives to the beach. Just think of that. ‘Where you pick am?’ ” “What did you do after that?” “We came away. We couldn’t possibly stay after that. By the way, we are now engaged. I gave her a ring this afternoon.” “Very good,” said Joseph bitterly. He thought for a while and then asked: “Are you going to marry the English way or are you going to ask your people to approach her people according to custom?” “I don’t know yet. It depends on what my father says.”
enough and walked in. “Good morning,” he said to Miss Tomlinson, all smiles. Obi dragged another chair to his table and Mr. Mark sat down. “And what can I do for you?” To his amazement Mr. Mark replied in Ibo: “If you don’t mind, shall we talk in Ibo? I didn’t know you had a European here.” “Just as you like. Actually I didn’t think you were Ibo. What is your problem?” He tried to sound casual. “Well, it is like this. I have a sister who has just passed her School Certificate in Grade One.
the first place I don’t give scholarships. All I do is go through the applications and recommend those who satisfy the requirements to the Scholarship Board.” “That’s all I want,” said the man. “Just recommend him.” “But the Board may not select him.” “Don’t worry about that. Just do your own …” Obi was silent. He remembered the boy’s name. He was already on the short list, “Why don’t you pay for him? You have money. The scholarship is for poor people.” The man laughed. “No man has money in
Umuofia, did not know. And we must presume that, in spite of his certitude, Mr. Green did not know either. Chinhua Achebe The Education of a British-Protected Child His first new book in more than twenty years Chinua Achebe’s characteristically measured and nuanced voice is everywhere present in these seventeen autobiographical essays. An indispensable addition to the remarkable Achebe oeuvre. Available October 2009 in hardcover from Knopf $24.95 • 192 pages • 978-0-307-27255-3