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"In physical therapy, there are two kinds of pain: the kind where you're actually causing yourself an injury, and the kind that means good work is being done. Americanah is painful in the second way -- under Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche's incomparably observant, intelligent eye, the U.S.'s fraught relationship to race and racism is thrown into harsh relief by a self-described "Non-American Black," Ifemelu, who writes a blog about her experiences moving Stateside and becoming, as her friends in Nigeria say, an Americanah. Adiche is akin to a modern-day Jane Austen, with her razor-sharp social commentary that somehow manages to avoid judgment, and her sense of absurdity and comedy, even in the most serious of situations. Required reading for everyone living in a country that claims to be "post-racial."— Katie P.
is SUCH A GREAT BOOK. The story of two friends growing up in
Nigeria, moving to the UK and US, and ultimately finding each other
again in Africa, Adichie is a master at tellang a great story with
compelling characters as well as causing a reader to think. She's
one of the best writers working today.
Americanah functions as many things, which is part of why it
is such a remarkable accomplishment. It’s a novel, telling the story of
two young Nigerians making their lives under drastically different (and
yet fundamentally similar) ways abroad. But it’s also a powerful
polemic on race, particularly race in the United States; it’s a book to
start discussions; a tool; a reading assignment for Americans who
believe this country (or any country) is “post-racial.”
From the award-winning, bestselling author of We Should All Be Feminists and Half of a Yellow Sun—the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race, belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. Her work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, Financial Times, and Zoetrope: All-Story. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which was the recipient of the Women’s Prize for Fiction “Winner of Winners” award; Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck; and the essays We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, both national bestsellers. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.