Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanaian. America doesn’t care.”
The heroine of Americanah, Nigerian immigrant Ifemelu, makes this and other pointed observations in her popular, provocative blog Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black. Smart, accomplished Ifemelu has a fellowship from Princeton, a professor boyfriend, and is an in demand speaker.
But her success has not come without difficulty, and Ifemelu wears it uneasily. After leaving her boyfriend and family in Nigeria, her first years in the USA were hard and strange.
Her hometown boyfriend, Obinze, who immigrated to London, experiences similar challenges as an undocumented alien.
A harsh portrayal of the immigrant experience, an engrossing love story, and a shrewd examination of race relations in the twenty-first century, Americanah is an ambitious but highly readable novel.
What Other Reviewers Think
NPR: “So smart about so many subjects that to call it a novel about being black …doesn’t even begin to convey its luxurious heft and scope…Capacious, absorbing and original.”
Who wrote it?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist.
Coming to the big screen?
Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company, which produced 12 Years a Slave, has acquired the movie rights to Americanah. Lupita Nyong’o will star.
Is this a good book club selection?
Yes! A thought provoking discussion was held at the NCN Book Club meeting.