Book review: No longer at ease

No longer at ease is actually the second book of the African trilogy. I previously read the first one, that I liked a lot and wrote about here.

Synopsis:

Obi Okonkwo is an idealistic young man who has now returned to Nigeria for a job in the civil service. However in his new role he finds that the way of government seems to be corruption. Obi manages to resist the bribes offered to him, but when he falls in love with an unsuitable girl, he sinks further into emotional and financial turmoil.

My opinion:

I have mixed feelings about this book. Took me 2 months to write this review as I was not in agreement with myself 😀

No longer at ease is the story of a man in trial, his morals and values. It’s a story of old ways VS new ways, as we follow Obi, a young educated man who did his studies in England and who comes back to Lagos and is faced with the reality of life in Nigeria. Issues arise in his job as well as his personal life as he does not chose to conform with society and its unspoken rules but choses to go his way.

It is interesting to see how the character of Obi was approached and described, as he represents the story of countless African men and women who return to their country with memories of their country and a purpose: to change the mentality, old habits and old believes for better ways. It’s powerful and refreshing to see how the author addressed this issue! The past and tradition are powerful tools in African countries used for many purposes and we see here how investors took control of this young man life, or tried to.

The author chose to ask powerful questions about identity, corruption, religion, debt and the spirit of the African man. I understand why this book is included in many educational programs as we need to discuss these subjects that destroyed in many cases, societies, families and countries. What I really loved in this book, is that Obi has the perspective of Africa and the West and there is a big focus on how he strived to protect his identity as a Nigerian man by speaking his mother tongue, Ibo, as much as he could in England.

No longer at ease tackles the challenges faced by Africans and especially the younger generation. We learn about how circumstances can change an honorable man into a criminal and how men forego their morals for a job or security.

No longer at ease is a book that is superbly written and is tackling deep issues in a very smart way. The author was very much ahead of his time. There is an atmosphere of melancholy and hope throughout this book. Which comes as a surprise as it is a very political novel.

I personally preferred the first book of the African trilogy but will for sure read the third one. I am sure I will re-read No longer at ease as I want to read it from a different perspective.