Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: May 2013
Genre: Fictional Novel
Cost: Rs. 215.28 (Kindle edition)
Pages: 400 pages
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.
Americanization is one of the biggest themes in Americanah. In the context of the novel, America itself is a symbol of hope, wealth, social and economic mobility, and, ultimately, disappointment, as Ifemelu learns that the American Dream is a lie and that the advantages she enjoys there often come at a great price.
According to Idowu Faith, “no valid statement can be made on Americanah without deconstructing the term “Americanah” which, more or less, reveals the thesis of the narrative as well as the preoccupation of Adichie in the text.”
There’s a challenging theory that Adichie confronts. According to Dustmann and Weiss- “lack of economic opportunity and escape from natural disaster/persecution are two main reasons individuals migrate throughout history.” However, in this book, Adichie shows how the characters had to migrate because they had ‘no choice left’ with them, thus shaking the historical theory.
Adichie has also addressed the importance of ‘sex education’ and discussing about the perception that the youngsters have about sex through the character of Ifemelu exploring her own sexuality.
A recurring theme of the blogs is the politics of black hair – how women are expected to relax their natural curls with toxic chemicals or weave in bits of someone else's hair in order to conform to comfortable white norms.
Laura Pearson wrote, "Sprawling, ambitious and gorgeously written, 'Americanah' covers race, identity, relationships, community, politics, privelege, language, hair, ethnocentrism, migration, intimacy, estrangement, blogging, books and Barack Obama. It covers three continents, spans decades, leaps gracefully, from chapter to chapter, to different cities and other lives...[Adichie] weaves them assuredly into a thoughtfully structured epic. The result is a timeless love story steeped in our times."
Milestones of the Book:
- The book was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times book review.
- It won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction),and was shortlisted for the 2014 Bailey’s Women’s prize for fiction of the United Kingdom.
- The Chicago Tribune awarded Adichie its 2013 Heartland Award for Fiction.
- In March 2017, Americanah was picked as the winner for the "One Book, One New York" program.
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.