Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Book Review]

americanah-cover-image.jpgTitle : Americanah

Author : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

ISBN : 9780007356348

Publisher : Fourth Estate

Genre : Culture

Pages : 477

Source : Self

Rating : 3 stars

This is my first Chimamanda’s novel which I picked up after fighting between this and Half of the yellow sun. It felt like she was the Jhumpa Lahiri of Nigeria with the way the story was written and the plot that moved along the political and spiritual believes of the people, Nigerians against Americans and Americans against Nigerians.

The story revolves around the lives of Ifemelu, Obinze and people around them. The story starts as Ifemelu goes to braid her hair and the flashback starts dominating most of the novel. A successful blogger who decides to let her life go in America and come back to her home town as Americanah.

She talks mainly about race, about blacks not being blacks until they are in the midst of whites, the misinterpretations of ones picture who is supposedly black when the topic in question is violence or drugs and the efforts people put in to constantly proving that they are not racists. It deals with certain aspects of a black community leaving in America and London and the struggles they find themselves in to have something a lot among them have taken for granted; survival.

I did enjoy the balance between fiction and reality, the present and the past and the path traced by the story from ‘what it was’ to ‘what it could have been’ with a poetic touch, something I found magnificent. The supporting characters around the protagonist that shape her life, giving it an edgy twist here and there and being subtle about the relationship they share against the rest of the world, did not fail to appeal and seemed to lost its entirety towards the end as new people were pushed in abundance whose part in the story, I found unnecessary.

The author is brave and blunt that can be proved in every other page who seemed to be in no rush to dilute down on the sensitive topics which, though I quite did not expect it at some of the places, I found added weightage to an ordinary story of unrequited love. One of the other highlights of the novel was the profound absoluteness that was portrayed for Ifemelu, be it her wrong choices or flaws. It is not just a story of two people who decide to be in love but also the story of worlds against each other surviving at the tips of its people, refusing to fail, fighting to stand out and determined to have their way against each other, even if it something as trivial as colour.

Buy yourself a copy here.

Reviewed by Pavan Kumar B C

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