Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Posts Tagged ‘Americanah’

Americanah

Posted by nliakos on August 31, 2018

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Borzoi/Knopf, 2013)

I bought this e-book to read while we were in Greece last year, but I never got round to reading it until recently. I loved it! In seven parts and 55 chapters, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the stories of Ifemelu and Obinze, soulmates and lovers, in their native Nigeria and in their adopted countries of the United States and the United Kingdom. Ifemelu, the eponymous Americanah, experiences culture shock in the U.S. as she adapts to her life first as an international student and then as an employee, and then re-entry shock when she returns, by choice, to Nigeria, giving up her popular blog on race and the experiences of non-American blacks (excerpts of which often end the chapters, making me wonder if the author had just such a blog). Obinze, in contrast, does not find success in the U.K. and is ultimately deported, to his extreme humiliation. The reader follows the adventures of these two individuals, hoping that they will somehow find each other and reconcile. Life, meanwhile, seems to keep them apart.

Reading about Nigerian (and Nigerian ex-pat) culture was interesting, but it did not make me want to experience it!

Adichie’s prose is exquisite, and the reader really comes to care about the characters, which to my mind is a necessity in fiction. (If I can’t identify with a character, if I have no affinity with at least one character, I don’t like the novel. The best example of this is Gone with the Wind, which I have never liked for precisely this reason.)

 

 

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