I recently read Americanah, Chimamanda’s most recent offering.
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.
- Race IS a big deal and we can’t be disingenuous and pretend otherwise.
- I also didn’t know I was black until I came to South Africa five and a bit years back. Even now, there is a separateness and difference, I am not like the local Blacks, I just don’t have the same kind of heritage issues.
- Loved how she highlighted the inter-racial differences talking about how a given Black character took the pains not to take an opinion because his family happened to be wealthier than the rest or how he was pro-Hilary and not pro-Obama. We are not a homogeneous nebulous cultural group, we are different.
- I loved how she spoke of the run up to Obama’s victory. I totally identified with that, the fear that he might be shot dead at any point/ they would discover something awful about him that would force him to get disqualified and then his Pastor spoke and I thought, no!
- Loved how she characterised the desperation that so many Africans have regarding moving abroad. Very palpable.
- About natural hair? I rock it, you don’t! Moving along swiftly.
- Saddened by the portrayal of Nigerian women and the fact that men appear to be firmly in control.
- It was nice to see her talk of modern day Nigeria and the fact that people do hustle and we appreciate this better when we contrast Obinze in London versus Obinze in Lagos/Abuja. Big boy about town!
- The apparent ending of the story further saddened me. Does Ifem take him back or not?
- While the story is pretty much about Ifem and Obinze, there were a few hollow characters. Curtis? Blake?
- Loved the names. So beautiful.
- Curiously, I do wonder what the problem was with the girl that Ifem first baby-sat. Was she molested, a psychopath,what?
- Dike, was another underdeveloped character, or maybe not, I am not sure. (Wondered how the name is pronounced as I read the book)
I loved this book but it made me immediately want to go back to Half of a Yellow Sun.