About two years
ago, an old friend of mine requested me to buy her a book, any book, written by
Chinua Achebe. I have never heard of this author then. Not that I was a
knowledgeable reader but I was curious. After a couple of rounds of searching
for books, I found Arrow of God. I read the book before giving it to the
friend. I did not have any chance to read other books of this writer, till
recently when I got hold of No Longer At Ease at the Murtala
Lagos in Nigeria.
Set in the country''s colonial era, the book tells a
story of Obi, a young Nigerian civil servant man educated in London on a scholarship funded by his
community. On return after completing studies in London, he faces challenges from several
fronts, all of them centred around his choice of girl of unacceptable
ancestry and his inability to accept pre-existing norms of the society. This leads to his uneasy relationship with his own family and leading
members of the community in Lagos,
the city where he works far away from his family home. His problems are
compounded by personal financial difficulties and breakdown of relationship with
this very girl. This young civil servant, who has strong views against corruption,
finally succumbs to corruption.
The story of the
conflict between two generations, of a person torn apart by personal problems
and inability to conform to old beliefs of the closely knit community is told
in the backdrop of the corruption and racial divide, the new religion of
Christianity and long held beliefs of his community.
The book is relatively thin and a page turner. You also can read it in Google books (I have provided the link).