SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEY’S WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
‘A delicious, important novel’ The Times
‘Alert, alive and gripping’ Independent
‘Some novels tell a great story and others make you change the way you look at the world. Americanah does both.’ Guardian
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, the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning ‘Americanah’ is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today’s globalized world.
‘A brilliant novel: epic in scope, personal in resonance and with lots to say’ Elizabeth Day, Observer
‘A delicious, important novel from a writer with a great deal to say’ The Times
‘A brilliant exploration of being African in America … an urgent and important book, further evidence that its author is a real talent’ Sunday Telegraph
‘An extremely thoughtful, subtly provocative exploration of structural inequality, of different kinds of oppression, of gender roles, of the idea of home. Subtle, but not afraid to pull its punches’ Alex Clark, Guardian
‘A tour de force … The artistry with which Adichie keeps her story moving, while animating the complex anxieties in which the characters live and work, is hugely impressive’ Mail on Sunday
‘Adichie is terrific on human interactions … Adichie’s writing always has an elegant shimmer to it … Wise, entertaining and unendingly perceptive’ Independent on Sunday
‘Adichie paints on a grand canvas, boldly and confidently … This is a very funny, very warm and moving intergenerational epic that confirms Adiche’s virtuosity, boundless empathy and searing social acuity’ Dave Eggers
‘“An honest novel about race” … with guts and lustre … within the context of a well-crafted, compassionate, visceral and delicately funny tale of lasting high-school love and the sorrows and adventures of immigration’ Diana Evans, The Times
‘[A] long, satisfying novel of cross-continental relationships, exile and the pull of home … Adichie’s first novel for seven years and well worth the wait’ FT
‘Alert, alive and gripping’ Independent
About the author
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. Her first novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ was published in 2003 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her second novel ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her short story collection, ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, was published to critical acclaim in 2009. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards, has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and The Iowa Review. She won a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant in 2009, and in 2010 appeared on the New Yorker’s list of the best 20 writers under 40. Her third novel, ‘Americanah’, was published to widespread critical acclaim in 2013. She lives in Nigeria.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A Nigerian woman studying in America confronts issues of race and identity—and an emotional return to a country that doesn’t feel like home—in this witty, warm-hearted novel.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Interesting and beautifully written
Another solid novel from Adichie, solidly cementing her place as one of the foremost contemporary African authors.
Though lacking the poetry of 'Half of a Yellow Sun', this is a thought provoking read; offering an interesting perspective on two salient political issues in both the US and UK: race and immigration respectively. The book is far from complementary on the handling of both issues.
It is also interesting to read a work of fiction centred on an immigrant character who willingly chooses to return to her native land from the US; a rarity in a sub-genre dominated all to often by gushing love letters to the adopted country.
Well worth a read, it will not disappoint!
Not for a long time have I been so touched, so immersed, so utterly smitten with the world into which a novel invited me. I will be feeling bereft without my daily visits to Ifemelu's and Obinze's lives, and while I will be looking for them in vain in the streets of Edinburgh - sadly - I will feel a little less ignorant the next time I have the pleasure of meeting someone from Nigeria. Thank you Chimamanda for the immense pleasure and the education you have given me with your novel.
Fun and so much reality
This book is full of reality that I felt too close of it. I have so much laugh on some pages of the big books. Unfortunately, some of them are so true that it breaks my heart.