From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a powerful new novel-her first in seven years: a story of love and race centred around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military ...
From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a powerful new novel-her first in seven years: a story of love and race centred around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face? Fearless, gripping, spanning three continents and numerous lives, 'Americanah' is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today's globalized world.
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This profound book is disguised as a gripping story. Anyone interested in race relations, immigration issues, and women's issues would probably like this book. It is well written and challenged me in many ways.
Feb 11, 2014
A friendly, refreshing narrator
I found myself enjoying this book from the first page. It felt like hearing the interesting twists and cutting observations of a dear friend's lifestory.
The first two thirds of the book flew by. But I found the later part dragged. Falling back on the marriage plot and/or search for love as a resolution seemed staid, and old-fashioned compared to the freshness of the main character's perspective. I also thought that the events of the latter section were told with less of the immediacy and rich details that so enthralled me in the beginning and middle.
Despite the flat ending, I highly recommend this.
To paraphrase the sentiments of the main character, there's more to this book than mere plot points.
Publishers Weekly, 2013-03-25 Adichie burst onto the literary scene in 2006 with Half of a Yellow Sun, her searing depiction of the civil war in Nigeria. Her equally compelling and important new novel follows the lives of that country's postwar generation as they suffer endemic corruption and poverty under a military dictatorship. An unflinching but compassionate observer, Adichie writes a vibrant tale about love, betrayal, and destiny; about racism; and about a society in which honesty is extinct and cynicism is the national philosophy. She broadens her canvas to include both America and England, where she illuminates the precarious tightrope existence of culturally and racially displaced immigrants. The friendship of Ifemelu and Obinze begins in secondary school in Lagos and blossoms into love. When Ifemelu earns a scholarship to an American college, Obinze intends to join her after his university graduation, but he's denied a U.S. visa. He manages to get to London where his plight is typical of illegal immigrants there: he uses another man's ID so he can find menial, off-the-grid work, with the attendant loss of dignity and self-respect. The final blow comes when he's arrested and deported home. Ifemelu, meanwhile, faces the same humiliations, indignities, and privations-first in New York, then in Philadelphia. There, attending college, she's unable to find a job and descends to a degrading sexual act in order to pay her rent. Later she becomes a babysitter for a wealthy white family and begins writing a provocative blog on being black in America that bristles with sharp, incisive observations about racism. Ifemelu writes that the painful, expensive process of "relaxing" kinky African hair to conform to cultural expectations brings black women dangerously close to self-hatred. In time the blog earns Ifemelu fame and a fellowship to Princeton, where she has love affairs with a wealthy white man and, later, an African-American Yale professor. Her decision to return home to Nigeria (where she risks being designated as an affected "Americanah") is the turning point of the novel's touching love story and an illuminating portrait of a country still in political turmoil. Announced first printing of 60,000. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, the Wylie Agency. (May 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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