Available on JSTOR at: doi.org/10.2307/3334283

Abstract

Eldred Jones' first novel is a powerful and pessimistic presentation of the bribery and corruption within the government of an African state. In this respect his tale may be likened to Chinua Achebe's two novels on the same theme, “No Longer at Ease” and “Man of the People”. It stands between these two books, for the hero, Kunle, remains strong in his honest integrity to the end and does not fall prey, as does Achebe's young hero, Obi, to the graft opportunities of his government position. Yet, if there is this personal integrity, the ending does not have that convenient dues ex machina of a military coup that ironically concluded Achebe's “Man of the People” and eliminated the corruption of the old regime. It terminates with the same continuing corruption, which the nobly honest prime minister can do nothing to eliminate. The contract for the mineral exploitation, in spite of all Kunle's efforts, is given to the corporation offering the biggest bribe. In the first excerpt Kunle spends Saturday with his family. This joyful reunion provides a refreshing interlude in a world of political intrigue. Official Kongba's sudden intrusion reminds Kunle of the pressure that the powerful and corrupt minister, Tom Brunswick, can apply. The second excerpt shows Brunswick putting the pressure on members of the committee who will decide upon the choice of a company to dominate the mining industry of the country. He tries his wiles on two men: Pa Demba, a man old in the ways of government, honest, but agedly indifferent in his lechery; and the angry, knowledgeable, expatriate professor. It is one of the ironies of this profound and angry book that Minister Brunswick's apparent discomfiture in this excerpt has no effect upon his eventual victory, and the continuing consolidation of his power under the anxious, though honest-intentioned Prime Minister.