Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease was published in 1960. It is, very obviously, not the author’s Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, so there were no splashy and widespread celebrations of its “fifty years after” in 2010. That could hardly mean that No Longer at Ease is any less weighty an exploration of the place of modern Africa in the world. Its task could actually be conceived as much harder, focused as it is on the longer-term and more uncertain task of reconstitution after the epochal “falling apart” of things. This paper examines how No Longer at Ease intervenes most suggestively and sometimes prophetically in some of the defining conundrums of the postcolonial African condition: the vexed origins of a new kind of elite and its “strange” tongue, the emergence of a new spatial hierarchy in the rural-urban divide, the postcolonial city and its fragments, gender and rural poverty, and the place of self-help and nongovernment organizations in African civil, social, and political life.


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pp. 46-59
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