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No Longer at Ease Paperback – September 16, 1994

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No Longer at Ease + Things Fall Apart
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (September 16, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385474555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385474559
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.1 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Chinua Achebe is a magical writer — one of the greatest of the twentieth century."
— Margaret Atwood

"It is a measure of Achebe's creative gift that he has no need whatsoever for prose fireworks to light the flame of his intense drama. Wothry of particular attention are the characters. Achebe doesn't create his people with fastidiously detailed line drawings: instead, he relies on a few short strokes that highlight whatever prominent features will bring the total personlaity into three-dimensional life."

"The power of majesty of Chinua Achebe's work has, literally, opened the world to generations of readers. He is an ambassador of art, and a profound recorder of the human condition."
— Michael Dorris

"He is one of the few writers of our time who has touched us with a code of values that will never be ironic. This great voice."
— Michael Ondaatje --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

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.

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Customer Reviews

It might by better for somebody else just not for me.
I highly recommend this book, especially to ex-pats of any nation.
Denis Benchimol Minev
A true battleground of the issues confronting ones identity!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Obi Okonkwo, grandson of the protagonist in Things Fall Apart, is the pride of his Nigerian village, Umuofia. The Ibo villagers pooled their money to send one native son off to England to be educated and Obi was chosen. Now he has returned to a prestigious job with the civil service in Lagos--he's the Administrative Assistant to the Inspector of Schools. He bears the burden of his people's expectations but his exposure to Western culture has distanced him from tribal life and though he is now earning a magnificent living by their standards, he has trouble making ends meet as he tries keeping up with the Joneses in the big city. Borrowing money, he ends up "digging a new pit to fill up an old one." Further complicating matters is his love affair with the lovely Clara, an osu, one of the socio-religious outcasts who also figured prominently in Things Fall Apart.
As financial and romantic pressures continue to mount and his beloved mother sickens and dies, Obi must also deal with temptation, offers of money and sex if he will use his position to assist scholarship applicants. For as long as he can, Obi juggles all of these problems, but gradually they come crashing down on him.
More directly than almost any author I'm aware of, Chinua Achebe faces head on the issues which confront the developing nations in a post-Colonial world. In No Longer At Ease, even as he pokes fun at the remaining English bureaucrats and their condescending ways, he honors their tradition of relatively honest civil service. Meanwhile, he questions whether at least this first generation of natives who are replacing the departing Europeans are truly prepared to meet the same standards or whether a slide into corruption is nearly inevitable.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Anthony D. Riker on July 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Achebe's sequel to Things Fall Apart, he seeks to reconcile and give us a further understanding of the struggle between modernism and tradition. He gives us a view of how our ideals contrast with how we really live and exist in reality. The point of this book can be best summed up by Achebe's own words. He states, "The impatient idealist says: 'Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.' But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace." This book while centered mainly on the African identity crisis, gives a broad understanding of issues of right and wrong and moral consequences of individualism.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Edward Bosnar on November 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
"No Longer At Ease" deals with a theme that is well-developed by Achebe, i.e. the exploration of the interaction between rapid modernization (or, better stated, Westernization) brought to Africa by colonial (mis)rule on the one hand, and tradition on the other. I actually think this book is better than "Things Fall Apart," in which Achebe depicts the brutality of the outright conquest of an African society by a colonial power (in this case the British). In "No Longer At Ease" he shows the deep and drastic changes which occurred in society in Nigeria as colonial rule became established, and how this change warped social relations in the country. Society in the colony is no longer something created and maintained by the native Africans, but rather an imitation (or attempt thereof) of the colonial power's society. It lies somwhere in between, because it's not traditional, yet the natives are treated like second-class citizens in their own country. Through the central character, Achebe does an excellent job of evoking the alienation and frustration this engenders among those Nigerians who are Western-educated and urbanized, yet not really able or allowed to participate in decision-making in any meaningful way. Achebe is a truly masterful writer who can convey such a potent message through literature.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Denis Benchimol Minev on May 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No Longer at Ease, in my opinion, is actually a better book than Things Fall Apart. Achebe does a masterful job of depicting the experience of an ex-patriate returning home after many years abroad. Such experience is universal, not confined to Nigeria or the main character Obi Okonkwo (grandson of the main character in Things Fall Apart).
In adition to the ex-pat experience, Achebe inserts the peculiarly Nigerian experience, in which a group of British still retained some of the leadership positions in civil service while native Nigerians were mostly focused on politics. The moral aspect is also noteworthy, as the widely accepted corruption and favouring done by Nigerians in power was not mirrored by the British.
Aside from the socio-historical aspect of the novel, Achebe is very sensitive in showing the downward spiral of young Obi, as he tries to fight against strong unreasonable traditions (such as with his girlfriend who is of a banished caste). Obi gets enmeshed in a vicious cycle in which he needs to show success, to a point in which his salary can longer sustain his lifestyle, which is forced upon him by expectations.
I highly recommend this book, especially to ex-pats of any nation. As an ex-pat returned home myself, I feel many of the same difficulties Obi did. Obi's anguish and pain are crystal clear, and any ex-pat will relate.
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