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Americanah Paperback – March 4, 2014
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*Starred Review* To the women in the hair-braiding salon, Ifemelu seems to have everything a Nigerian immigrant in America could desire, but the culture shock, hardships, and racism she’s endured have left her feeling like she has “cement in her soul.” Smart, irreverent, and outspoken, she reluctantly left Nigeria on a college scholarship. Her aunty Uju, the pampered mistress of a general in Lagos, is now struggling on her own in the U.S., trying to secure her medical license. Ifemelu’s discouraging job search brings on desperation and depression until a babysitting gig leads to a cashmere-and-champagne romance with a wealthy white man. Astonished at the labyrinthine racial strictures she’s confronted with, Ifemelu, defining herself as a “Non-American Black,” launches an audacious, provocative, and instantly popular blog in which she explores what she calls Racial Disorder Syndrome. Meanwhile, her abandoned true love, Obinze, is suffering his own cold miseries as an unwanted African in London. MacArthur fellow Adichie (The Thing around Your Neck, 2009) is a word-by-word virtuoso with a sure grasp of social conundrums in Nigeria, East Coast America, and England; an omnivorous eye for resonant detail; a gift for authentic characters; pyrotechnic wit; and deep humanitarianism. Americanah is a courageous, world-class novel about independence, integrity, community, and love and what it takes to become a “full human being.” --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
It is not a stretch to say that her finely observed new book, which combines perfectly calibrated social satire and heartfelt emotion, stands with Invisible Man and The Bluest Eye as a defining work about the experience of being black in America.--Ruth Franklin --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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It the first fictional book I read for african authors, and they definitely have a wealth of writing.
The book is a about a Nigerian girl who grew up in Nigeria and makes the move to the US to continue her study there after all the issues happening in Nigeria. She spends almost 15 years there before she decides to come. So the story brings attention to so many interesting issues, immigration and its toll on the identities of kids who can't exactly define where they belong to, it draws a great distinction between africans blacks and african american blacks as 2 complete different culture and heritage and history, it brings attention to the big suffering of immigration and having to make a living with all the student/visit visa restrictions, and I find it amazing how they focused on race in a way to show that black africans never looked at themselves as black till they went to the states where being black made them at the bottom of social hierarchy and all what it comes with from psychological impacts.
The protagonist then moves back to Nigeria and you see how she can't at first fit in easy, cause her perspectives have changed and now she is considered an Americanah because of all her changed beliefs and behaviors and mindsets.
Amazing book with so much depth!
I also found Ifemelu to be contemptible and selfish. The story did tie up one loose end but I questioned whether it should have ended as it did.
It has happened again. I started to read a book and I was enchanted. As with Russian novels, I had to write down all the names of people and places. Since I was reading on Kindle I could not write on the book itself.
Ifemelu: the main female character, brave, impulsive, curious, successful blogger. She used to blog about race, blogs about life in the happy end.
Princeton: the American University town where the book starts.
Aunty Uju: near friend and relative of Ifemelu, we meet her as a medical doctor in US, later on we learn that she has been the mistress of a killed Nigerian general.
Ginika: Ifemelu’s friend from Nigeria. She helps Ifemelu to settle down when she first arrives in US.
Blaine: ifemelu’s boyfriend of her last three years in Us. University professor at Princeton.
Obinze: second main character. Ifemelu’s first and last boyfriend of the book. He represents her country and her life love or love to life. Also called The Zed by friends and Ceiling by Ifemelu.
Dike: Ifemelu’s cousin, son of Aunty Uju and the general.
Ranyunudo: Ifemelu’s girl friend through life.
Igbo: People of South-East Nigeria
Kosi: Obinze’s wife.
Buchi: Obinze’s daughter.
Nsukka: Nigerian town.
Lagos: Nigerian city, capital until 1991.
Curt: Ifemelu’s boyfriend during her early days in US. He helps her to become an American citizen.
Americanah jumps on top of my own book range, before Anna Karenina and Knausgård Min Kamp. Reading this book I went inside my own never ending longing and integration process; I learned about Nigeria and its growing middle class I did not know anything about before; I read an exquisite English text that was perfect for somebody like me who has and always will have English as a second or third language.