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Stranger in his Homeland

Linus Asong

Publication Year: 2010

Stranger in His Homeland completes the long-awaited trilogy of Linus Asong's fictitious village of Nkokonoko Small Monje, separately treated in The Crown of Thorns and its sequel A Legend of the Dead. However, it leads us back not to events after A Legend of the Dead, but to the crisis that created the passionately exciting The Crown of Thorns. Honest, enthusiastic, arrogant and self-righteous, Antony Nkoaleck, the first graduate of his tribe means well. But his society, entrenched in corruption, sees things differently and therefore judges him according to its own norms. Just one or two errors on Antony's part are enough to cost him his job with the government, the coveted throne of Nkokonoko Small Monje, and finally his life. It is a sad story, strongly reminiscent of Myshkin's fate in Dostoevysky's novel The Idiot, a story in which the Russian novelist vividly shows the inability of any man to bear the burden of moral perfection in an imperfect world.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-vii

Part One

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Chapter One

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pp. 3-10

The death of Chief Fuo-Ndee and the decision that Antony would succeed him had been received by the District Officer of Small Monje as a welcome blessing. While the old Chief lived, there was always conflict...

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Chapter Two

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pp. 11-18

Before Antony retired to his room later that evening, the DO had already made up his mind about him. He was NOT to be the new Chief of Small Monje, and the Elders in the palace needed to know about...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 19-24

Even though Beckongncho was a young man in whom the Elders had absolute trust, and even though he assured them all that the document was genuine, the old men refused to believe what their ears had heard...

Part Two

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Chapter Four

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pp. 27-34

The night Antony returned to Likume from studies abroad two years ago, nobody could have thought that he would end this way. Not even he himself. He was everybody’s idol, a god in his own right. He knew by instant intuition as he sought his uncle’s house that night that year that the Likume...

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Chapter Five

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pp. 35-44

Antony spent the few hours left before dawn in Anuse’s room. At about 8 o’clock, the following morning he woke up, being roused from his short sleep mainly by the noises of the visitors. He took exquisite care not to meet Anuse alone. So he mixed with the friends who came...

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Chapter Six

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pp. 45-48

Antony’s premature return from Ghana hurt Anuse severely. His refusal to submit to Anuse’s code of conduct angered him, making him less and less anxious to talk to Antony or think of him with the kind of pride he had done previously. But this did not deter him from...

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Chapter Seven

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pp. 49-58

Relatives and friends poured in daily to greet Antony. Anuse spoke to him on Thursday. On Friday, he was visited by three gentlemen – Eru, Nchindia and Beckongncho. They were all from the Biongong tribe. Several years ago they had been either classmates or playmates...

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Chapter Eight

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pp. 59-64

Nine days after Antony’s arrival, Anuse came up to him and told him that a party was being arranged to welcome him back. He called it “a Function.” “Father,” he began, “I don’t think that sort of thing is necessary…” “It is necessary,” Anuse told him forcefully, even before the last syllable left is lips. He had...

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Chapter Nine

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pp. 65-70

Antony went to visit Eru soon after he parted from Angela, a visit which altered his opinion of Eru, at least for a while. Eru was at home. He occupied a self-contained apartment made up of a large parlour and a large bedroom. When Antony entered and sat down, he was amazed...

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Chapter Ten

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pp. 71-74

Two nights after Angela brought the food, Antony was sitting up, working on his writings when he heard a knock on his door. For a while, he thought it was Eru. He answered the knock, rose to the door and turned the knob. It was Angela. She was dressed in her nursing...

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Chapter Eleven

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pp. 75-84

Anuse’s arrangement went on as planned for the party to welcome Antony. It took place in his compound three days after Antony had told Angela off. She had decided she would not mention the disgrace to any of her parents, unless it really became necessary. On his...

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Chapter Twelve

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pp. 85-98

With Anuse’s departure from the scene, chaos set in and made it impossible for anybody who respected himself to linger there much longer. It began with the scramble over beer. It was true that they had contributed their money wholeheartedly to come and...

Part Three

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Chapter Thirteen

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pp. 101-106

Three days after the welcome party fiasco, Antony wrote to his cousin Ephraim Njikem who worked and lived in Tetseale. He informed Ephraim that he would be coming to Tetseale to submit an application for employment to the Ministry of Education by the end of the...

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Chapter Fourteen

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pp. 107-118

The DO’s land-rover drove Antony the following morning as far as Mbi-nzeah whence he continued to Tetseale. Ephraim Njikem had actually been expecting him. He had received Antony’s letter and he knew him to be a man who kept his word strictly. Njikem lived in that...

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Chapter Fifteen

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pp. 119-124

There were three main items on Antony’s programme for the next day: he was to visit the University Library and Bookstore to see how he could update his research, visit the Dean of the Faculty of Arts or the Vice Chancellor and finally go to the Ministry of National Education. The University...

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Chapter Sixteen

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pp. 125-130

Antony mentioned his father’s illness and the plans he had for evacuating him for treatment abroad to Eru and his aunt. Eru told him it was impracticable, given his poor financial position. His aunt told him it was unnecessary because the man had long been counted out among the living. He deposited his application...

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Chapter Seventeen

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pp. 131-136

One day Eru paid Antony one of his several surprise visits. “I want us to visit No Man’s Land,” he said. Antony had been working on his manuscripts. “Where is that, and what for?” Antony asked. “My oxygen mask,” Eru said. “I want you to meet my DIE.” Antony knew he was...

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Chapter Eighteen

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pp. 137-142

Antony met Vicky one Sunday morning in church. So far, although he thought so frequently of women and brothels, Vicky was the only girl he had actually conversed with since telling Angela off. Often when his thoughts turned on women, hers was the only face and voice that gave substance to his fantasies. It was not that he had any...

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Chapter Nineteen

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pp. 143-150

Any opposition from anybody concerning Antony’s marriage to Vicky only wet to emphasize how right he was in his decision. In fact, anything with which his people disagreed came to be the best thing for him to do. It was not that he knew they were right and deliberately...

Part Four

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Chapter Twenty

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pp. 153-156

Antony had walked into a bee-hive by marrying from the Godsabi family, for his problems with Godsabi multiplied with each passing day. The wedding had been originally planned for the end of the month of July when Vicky shall have finished her G.C.E examinations. He was beginning to have the feeling that he had not...

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Chapter Twenty-One

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pp. 157-166

Eru stood by his decision. Antony, on his part, could not withdraw the promise he had made to Vicky. He wrote to Beckongncho cancelling the invitation along lines suggested by Eru. The very day that Beckongncho got the letter he left Sowa for Likume. There he told Antony...

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Chapter Twenty-Two

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pp. 167-170

Antony and Vicky came too late. Pa Godsabi died an hour before they arrived. A crowd had gathered in his compound, but not to mourn for him. It was being said that the man had died in his latrine while trying to force a bundle of an undisclosed sum of money into the...

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Chapter Twenty-Three

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pp. 171-184

Four days after the burial of Pa Godsabi Antony was still acutely haunted by a fear that he would become impotent. Since the shrinking in Mulyoka, his manhood had still shown no signs of any improvement. For the first three following the death of the old man he had not slept with Vicky on the...

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Chapter Twenty-Four

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pp. 185-192

Eru came out of his house and met Antony at the veranda where he said immediately: “Bo, accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your fatherin- law. I only heard it when it got here. It’s so bad. I never heard he was sick at all. I know...

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Chapter Twenty-Five

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pp. 193-202

Antony returned home even moodier than he felt when he left. When he entered the house Vicky came up to him to find out why Eru wanted to see him so quickly. “It doesn’t concern you,” he spat and went to sit down in stony silence. It was...

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Chapter Twenty-Six

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pp. 203-208

Antony did not go straight to his house. He needed somebody to be present with him when he met Vicky. Such a person was Eru. He went to his office but he was absent. He proceeded to his house but he was still not there. Now that he was forced to talk to Vicky himself he...

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Chapter Twenty-Seven

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pp. 209-216

When Antony reached home that morning from the hospital he forced himself to apologise to Vicky for all previous conduct towards her. He ascribed it all to alcohol which he said he had mistakenly taken on each of the two occasions that he had spoken so unkindly...

Part Five

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Chapter Twenty-Eight

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pp. 219-224

Antony arrived at Sigili-Mundu on the 8th of October, an unbelievable thirteen days after he left Likume. He had not been accurately informed about the precise nature of the journey. As if by some conspiracy all the Northerners he contacted in Likume for information...

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Chapter Twenty-Nine

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pp. 225-232

Antony’s Canadian friends did not lead him to the residence of his principal, but they took him to the park and waited until somebody was found who could show him the way. It was just beginning to get dark...

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Chapter Thirty

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pp. 233-242

Before Antony went to bed that first night he had been told that classes began 8 o’clock every morning. At half past six the following day he was up. Twenty minutes later he was dressed for school. Zaché was not to appear until half-past eight. He came out of his room in...

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Chapter Thirty-One

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pp. 243-252

Antony described Zaché in his dairy as “the most pernicious little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.” One thing was now very certain: the two of them could not work well together. Zaché certainly had quite a different attitude...

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Chapter Thirty Two

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pp. 253-258

Antony went straight to the Prefet’s office where he reported how he had been very falsely accused and openly disgraced by Zaché in front of his subordinates, and how he had been driven out of the house. The Prefet received the news with very great alarm. He wondered...

Part Six

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Chapter Thirty-Three

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pp. 261-262

Antony had suddenly become very forgetful. It was only when he was on his way to Likume that he recalled he had left the letter Eru had sent to him behind in Sigili-Mundu. He had not taken particular note of where Eru was said...

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Chapter Thirty-Four

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pp. 263-272

Eru must have heard Antony’s voice, for, in spite of the agony in which he was he called without turning to look at the visitor: “Bo, Antony, you were waiting for me to die before you come down?” “I only got your letter four days ago,” Antony said. “I did not personally hear the radio announcement, and my Director did not permit me to leave until last...

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Chapter Thirty-Five

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pp. 273-276

A nap on his way to Tetseale turned his fears into a reality. Zaché had led Antony with the students and staff to the prefecture on the pretext that the Prefet wanted to address them all. There as soon as everybody had assembled he called Antony to the front of the crowd and...

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Chapter Thirty-Six

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pp. 277-282

Antony went to his brother Njikem’s office. There he explained his problem. Njikem had several connections, but none with the Ministry of Education. Besides he had not been impressed by the fact that Antony found nobody of value amongst the very beautiful...

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Chapter Thirty-Seven

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pp. 283-286

Antony found Namnde to be very interesting. Very tall, lean and with a hungry look on his bearded face, he wore a tie which on his long neck looked like a rope. He spent his whole time smoking and eating kola-nuts. He would listen to Antony talk for a very long time without...

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Chapter Thirty-Eight

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pp. 287-292

Antony’s resignation letter was a strong protest and a direct attack on Zaché as well as the Prefet. He said, for instance that: I put in what I considered my best and, judged by the standards of positive achievement, I honestly have never thought there should be any cause of regret for ever appointing me to this office. But all my efforts have only earned...

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Chapter Thirty-Nine

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pp. 293-296

Antony’s excitement at meeting Mercy did not end with their separation in Tetseale. Back in Sigili-Mundu he thought of her constantly. She had let loose a flood of long suppressed emotions in him, he found himself completely obsessed with thoughts of her. Her image...

Part Eight

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Chapter Forty

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pp. 299-302

Antony’s dismissal as “Surveillant General,” and his dejection at Eru’s sad state was made worse by the loss of Argus. It came as unexpectedly as its acquisition. Less than a fortnight after his return from Likume, he was roused from his afternoon rest by a black cat chasing a mouse to and fro the whole length of the roof of his...

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Chapter Forty-One

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pp. 303-308

The college closed down for Easter vacation in March, one month after the death of Argus. Antony left for Tetseale that same day. The week before he had received his long awaited arrears – 640,000 francs. As soon as he got the money he sent a cheque of 40,000 francs to...

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Chapter Forty-Two

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pp. 309-316

Zaché did not need to labour on any plot because fate continued to trail Antony. The very night that he arrived at Sigili-Mundu his father died. The startling news was delivered over the Middle-Be...

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Chapter Forty-Three

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pp. 317-320

Antony knew before he left Atule that the Procurator and the Commissioner had expressed doubts about the genuineness of the news of his father’s death just to force him to marry Mercy. He was not surprised therefore to see on his arrival in Small-Monje that...

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Chapter Forty-Four

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pp. 321-324

The very first piece of news he received when he arrived Likume was very sad – Eru had died the week before and had been buried. Commy led him to the Catholic cemetery where he laid a wre...

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Chapter Forty-Five

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pp. 325-330

When Antony learnt that his father had died, and that he was being requested to be present for the funeral, he wrote a letter to Zaché telling him why his return would be delayed. Then he proceeded to Small Monje, only to hear that the ceremony had been...

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Chapter Forty-Six

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pp. 331-334

Antony arrived at Atule on the brink of an emotional breakdown. No amount of rationalisation would lighten the burden of the ministerial decision. No resolution to ignore or forget about it would suffice. It was not enough to remind himself at every breath that within...

Part Nine

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Chapter Forty-Seven

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pp. 337-348

Antony arrived at the palace a little after eight o’clock the following morning. He came alone. The DO was to come with Mercy later at ten o’clock. His own wife had gone to the Coast about a month before, and Antony had told him that he did not want his people to know..

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Chapter Forty-Eight

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pp. 349-353

The DO abandoned the ceremony in the heat of that confusion to pursue Antony. Antony’s rejection was not enough, he thought. So long as he had those his manuscripts with him, he constituted a danger to the reputation of the country. So as soon as he heard...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956716326
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956616466

Page Count: 366
Publication Year: 2010

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