Born and raised on a different continent, I am always interested in reading about immigration stories , specifically what compelled them to come this far, did their preconceived notions hold true to reality and did “their” American dream become fulfilled. Americanah was a wonderful surprise as it is so much more than merely a tale of moving from one’s birth country to another land.
The third novel by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie, hailed by The New York Times as one of the Ten Best Books of 2013, Americanah not only opens up a glimpse into Nigeria – a rare occurrence in books available in the West – but also into life as a non-American black person living in the U.S..
Race and love are the two central themes as we follow Ifemelu, a beautiful young woman on a student visa to the U.S., and Obinze, a professor’s son, arriving illegally to England, both fleeing the restrictions of a military dictatorship back home. After some hardship, Ifemelu becomes a successful blog writer focusing on race while Obinze is not quite as lucky. However, upon his return to a changed democratic Nigeria, he finds a new beginning. This is a young couple whose love is not only tested by long distance but by their separate experiences and actions to ensure survival in their host countries and find fulfillment of their aspirations. When they meet up – years later, are they still passionate and well suited for each other?
This perspective on race issues in the Western World, as seen through the lens of educated Africans who grew up with class and ethnic issues but not with the racial tensions, here is very interesting. The author’s writing is beautiful and captured both my heart and mind.
The Cedar Rapids Public Library owns Americanah as a hardcover book as well as a 3M E-book.