Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives. Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2021-10-15

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...
 

Reviewed: 2020-09-25
Good. Epic story from childhood to early mid life. To me, some of it's novel ideas I've heard before many times, but some of them were indeed novel to me. Enough of that in there for me to enjoy.
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