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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.”
The bestselling novel from the award-winning author of We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele. The story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and 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.
About the Author
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, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the 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 won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, a New York Times Notable Book, and a People and Black Issues Book Review Best Book of the Year; Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year; 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. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
“Dazzling. . . . Funny and defiant, and simultaneously so wise. . . . Brilliant.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A very funny, very warm and moving intergenerational epic that confirms Adichie’s virtuosity, boundless empathy and searing social acuity.” —Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King
“Masterful. . . . An expansive, epic love story. . . . Pulls no punches with regard to race, class and the high-risk, heart-tearing struggle for belonging in a fractured world.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“[A] knockout of a novel about immigration, American dreams, the power of first love, and the shifting meanings of skin color. . . . A marvel.” —NPR
“A cerebral and utterly transfixing epic. . . . Americanah is superlative at making clear just how isolating it can be to live far away from home. . . . Unforgettable.” —The Boston Globe
“Witheringly trenchant and hugely empathetic . . . a novel that holds the discomfiting realities of our times fearlessly before us. . . . A steady-handed dissection of the universal human experience.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Adichie is uniquely positioned to compare racial hierarchies in the United States to social striving in her native Nigeria. She does so in this new work with a ruthless honesty about the ugly and beautiful sides of both nations.” —The Washington Post
“Gorgeous. . . . A bright, bold book with unforgettable swagger that proves it sometimes takes a newcomer to show Americans to ourselves.” —The Dallas Morning News
“Americanah tackles the U.S. race complex with a directness and brio no U.S. writer of any color would risk.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“So smart about so many subjects that to call it a novel about being black in the 21st century doesn’t even begin to convey its luxurious heft and scope. . . . Capacious, absorbing and original.” —Jennifer Reese, NPR
“Superb . . . Americanah is that rare thing in contemporary literary fiction: a lush, big-hearted love story that also happens to be a piercingly funny social critique.” —Vogue
“A near-flawless novel.” —The Seattle Times
One of the Best Books of the Year
The New York Times • NPR • Chicago Tribune • The Washington Post • The Seattle Times • Entertainment Weekly • Newsday • Goodreads
One of Time's 10 Best Fiction Books of the 2010s