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The African Trilogy
on 1 March 2012
These stories are classic; brilliant. Achebe takes us to the heart of the Igbo people at the time of the `falling apart' of their civilisation in the face of colonialists and missionaries. We are witness to the turmoil through the experiences of the main characters, particularly Okonkwo in 'Things Fall Apart' and Ezeulu in 'Arrow of God'. We follow the rhythm of their lives, measured by the seasons, by market days and festivals, governed by the formalities and rituals of kinship and community, under the all- embracing presence of gods and spirits. A dialogue rich in proverbs flows throughout as we become intimately acquainted with an extended family and the bonds and tensions of kinship. So we watch in dismay as this way of life is misunderstood and unwittingly trampled on and destroyed as two cultures meet in mutual bewilderment and ignorance.
It is the humanity of these ordinary (yet extraordinary) people living their lives, doing their jobs, dealing with the unknown, Igbo or British, black or white, which gives Achebe's writing universal appeal. We believe in and identify with his characters and so we are completely involved and deeply moved as the tragedy inevitably unfolds.
'No Longer At Ease' carries the same humanity as we share in the troubles faced by Obi Okonkwo (Okonkwo's grandson) as he grapples with his life in 1950s Lagos and his job in a corrupt civil service. He is of the Igbo people from eastern Nigeria, and educated in England, and we know the story of his grandparents, so again, we are deeply involved in his story.
The Everyman's Library 2010 edition has an introduction by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of 'Half a Yellow Sun', set in the context of the Biafra War, a further tragedy for the Igbo people.