Monday, April 21, 2008

no longer at ease

also 9/19/2001:
as for No Longer at Ease. it's set a little further back in modern Nigerian history. GB is still there but on its way out. the novel is a sequel to Things Fall Apart in that the protagonist is Okwonko’s grandchild. and the theme is the same. a man with all that it takes to succeed in this society tragically loses everything (“all that promise...”) b/c of a character flaw... a stubbornness, an all too impulsive tendency to do things his own way, and go against his own chi (see the theme of chi here), if you will.

what was interesting in the book was the little connections it had with Anthills of the Savannah actually. Achebe alludes to more than a few details in this latter book (Anthills, 1987) from the former (No Longer, 1960). i happened to read them out of chronological order but it made no difference, really. he names children the same very symbolic names, he repeats sayings almost to the t, etc. it’s cool. i like it.

No Longer at Ease is told in a flash back. it begins in court. the scene of Obi Okwnoko’s downfall and ends there. in the middle it recounts the story of his life as it builds up to the climactic moment where Obi is arrested for corruption... the very thing he sets out against in his country’s system.

again, the ending here left a little to be desired. it wrapped up too quickly. i was surprised there wasn’t more to say. even the characters, Achebe’s strong-suit usually, were somewhat underdeveloped. i suppose like all sequels it’s tough to top the original.

i’m in the midst of lesson prep and SOW development now... not sure what or when i’ll pick up next in terms of literature. i’ve got my eyes on The White Man of God.

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