Full review here.Na so dis world be?
Since it has a bearing on my review of Chinua Achebe?s 1960 follow up novel to his monumental first work, Things Fall Apart, I will confess here that my first reaction to reading Thing?s Fall Apart was a shrug of my mind?s shoulders?It struck me then as a relatively simple, tragic story admirably told, nothing more. For whatever reason, I overlooked its subtleties, nor did Okwonko really engage my sympathies. It could have been that I was lulled by its calm voice and simple seeming language?
The protagonist of No Longer At Ease, Obi Okwonko is the grandson of the first novel?s protagonist, Okwonko. The setting has shifted two generations in time and 500 miles away from Okwonkos? fictional Ibo village of Umuofia to Lagos, Nigeria. It?s third person narrator focused mainly from Obi, unfolds the story in chronological order AFTER the opening chapter. Or to put it another way, the entire narrative is one long flashback after the opening. The first section of the first chapter takes the reader inside a Lagos courtroom where Obi is on trial for bribery, and the third section is a scene where his Ibo kinsmen are holding an emergency meeting of the Umuofia Progressive Union to discuss their position on supporting their ?prodigal son?. Once I learned my lesson on taking Achebe?s beguiling, subtle style for granted, I immediately re-read the novel?s opening chapter. It is so pivotal to the book?s overall resonance, I wondered if Achebe considered keeping the chapters in chronological order.
Achebe?s second novel looks forward in time and cultural progression (used here ironically) to further explore post colonial themes taken up in TFA. Jumping ahead, its to put forward an opinion that the two novels complement and resonate off each other, increasing understanding of each. One appreciates Achebe?s prose, his adaption to English of the simple music in the language of Ibo?s tribal world more, when held against the varied dictions of the characters in the frenetic pace of the urbanized modern colonial Africa of NLAE. One is struck by Achebe?s amazing ear to depict both