Perhaps the difficulty of Chinua Achebe’s simplicity lies in its temporal fractures: Things Fall Apart asks when “things” were ever not apart. Similarly, No Longer At Ease, based on Okonkwo’s descendant, Obi, questions when “ease” was ever possible. In one register, one might say Achebe is the great master of the fractured temporalities that anchor desire, producing “tradition,” the “past,” and “before” as fetish objects saturated with wholeness. His work actively solicits our desire for something we desperately want to believe once made sense: time, motivation, action, agency. It is not that we do not understand what motivates characters – duty, despair, hope, ambition, blindness; instead, even with that understanding, we are still left longing for something more, desiring something better for Achebe’s characters and, implicitly, for ourselves. Perhaps a kind of psychic satisfaction, a story that will turn out a particular kind of way. But this is not…

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