Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche does it, yet again, bringing to life unforgettable characters, while also dissecting issues surrounding race, gender/feminism, and culture.
The award winning author of Half of A Yellow Sun (also one of my favorite books), most recent novel Americanah invites you into the life of Ifemelu; an opinionated, self assured, strong willed Nigerian born woman. Ifemula recounts her life growing up in a military dictated Lagos, Nigeria. We watch Ifemelu navigate the race related complexities as a NAB (non-American Black), a newly arrived immigrant to the United States; leaving everything behind in Nigeria including her lover Obinze. Through Ifemelu’s journey, Adiche, unravels the complex issue of race through the perspective of a NAB, suddenly introduced to the backwards concept accompanied by its injustices that grips the lives of American Born Blacks. The novel explores the various facets of race in America, through Ifemelu’s experiences while dating Curt, a handsome, ridiculously rich White man and an American born, Harvard educated Black man, Blaine. Yet despite vast differences in race relations between Nigeria and the United States—(the concept of race almost nonexistent in Nigeria); Ifemelu triumphs in spite the racial challenges experienced. The novel also explores gender/feminism, although very subtly. Adiche explores through Ifemelu’s experiences with Blaine and Curt the tendency for women to often suppress who they are in acquiescence to their lovers.
Americanah is a beautifully written novel that exposes us to the rich Nigerian culture juxtapose to American societal fallacies relating to race and how Nigerian born immigrants are able to excel on foreign land. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is sure to have you nodding your head in agreement and wanting more upon reading the last sentence of its ending page.
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