I know that this book is for A Level, and “it’s thick, by Jove! It’s over 400 pages!”, but I always say get rid of your frogs first. Over the next couple of months, we’re going to be talking about the major themes, symbols, characters, and all that other stuff that makes Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie worthy of being in our syllabus.
Americanah is the love story of two Nigerians who immigrate to the West for a better future, but do not find it in the West. They find it back home, in Nigeria. It tells the whole and deep truth of America from the first generation immigrant’s view, Britain after colonization, and Nigeria to its people.
So what are your first impressions of Americanah? Is it funny? It is amusing? Is it heart wrenching? Is it racist? Is it all of the above?
Let me show you what the critics have been saying about Americanah:
“A knockout of a novel…A marvel of skilled construction and imagination.” –Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air
“Adichie is an extraordinary self-aware thinker and writer…Americanah [is] a deep-seated discussion of race…” –Mike Peed, The New York Times
Ms. Adichie (who’s married by the way, she wishes to keep her maiden name) has certainly gotten her hands full of awards for this one. Americanah was published in 2013 and has received the National Book Critics Award for Fiction, The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction, and has been named one of The New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year.
Chimanada Ngozi Adichie was born in 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria to Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie. The fifth of six children, Ms. Adichie was an academic superstar in both high school and college, and graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2001.
Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus was published 2003 and her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun was published 2006 and her collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck, was published in 2009. Americanah is her latest success.
And, moreover, it’s enjoyable. I promise; I haven’t had this much fun reading my literature syllabus since my class read The Destructors by Graham Greene (a favorite author of Obinze’s mother :)). The point is, don’t read it the first time because you have to, read it because you want to. The first time only; then analyze the crap out of it. Go read it! I’m not going to give away too many spoilers. Enjoy your novel!
Adichie, C. N. (2007-2014). About Chimamanda. Retrieved November 21, 2014, from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Website: http://chimamanda.com/about-chimamanda/
Adichie, C. N. (2013). Americanah. Alfred A. Knopf.
Tunca, D. (2004-2014). Biography. Retrieved November 21, 2014, from The Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Website: http://www.l3.ulg.ac.be/adichie/cnabio.html