No Longer at Ease

No Longer at Ease Study Guide

No Longer at Ease is Chinua Achebe's second book and part of what is commonly referred to as the African Trilogy; this includes Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God. The title comes from T.S. Eliot's Journey of the Magi. Some critics discern autobiographical elements in the text.

The novel was published in 1960, which was the year Nigeria became independent from Great Britain. It explores the themes of the effects of colonialism on the Nigerian people, the Nigerian character, political and individual corruption, religion, exile, and redemption. Critic Eustace Palmer describes the book as about the Nigerian generation who "having been exposed to education in the western world and therefore largely cut off from their roots in traditional society, discover, on their return, that the demands of tradition are still strong, and are hopelessly caught in the clash between the old and the new."

The main character in the novel, Obi Okonkwo, is the grandson of the protagonist in Things Fall Apart, Ogbuefi Okonkwo, who experiences the pacification of the Igbo people by the English. The events of No Longer at Ease are set about sixty years later. Those of the third novel, Arrow of God, take place between pacification and independence.

Reviews were mostly positive, but some critics noted that Achebe's characters were rather flimsily drawn. The book is s often unfavorably compared to Things Fall Apart, Achebe's masterpiece.