Americanah has been sitting on my TBR shelf for a long time. I absolutely loved Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, but I think I was a bit nervous of reading Adichie's novels based outside Nigeria. More fool me - this little piece of magic has been wasted on a shelf for too long.
Americanah is the story of two young Nigerians, in the recent past, who are one another's first love in school and college. However, ongoing college strikes and a need to start a life elsewhere, cause Ifemelu to follow her aunt and nephew to America. The plan is for Obinze, her love, to follow. But life is rarely so straightforward. What follows are the years where Ifemelu and Obinze live an ocean apart. And then, when after a little lifetime, Ifemelu begins to plan her return.
I had heard that this novel delved into race and migration, identity and voice, feminism and hair. I'll be honest, I was nervous that some of these topics would distance me from author I regard so very highly. But, just as with her earlier novels, Adichie anchors these serious topics around powerful, but imperfect, protagonists. Her novel is full of social commentary and social politics, but only insofar as they are directly relevant to the lives of her characters. Her manifesto is one of real life experience that is easy to relate to. Ifemelu is already one of those characters that I miss since I closed the book...