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Monday, September 9, 2013

Americanah: “Various Observations About American Blacks ... By A Non-American Black” And So Much More

((  Written By: Staff Writer  )) The immensely talented award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest novel Americanah is as much a love story about two star-crossed lovers as it is a blunt and unflinching exploration into class, race, and national identity.  As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love at a time when Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a compromising, undocumented life in Britain. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America called “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black.” But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reconnect, the two are forced to reconcile their new selves with their past that seemed destined for marriage.

As the novel nears end, Americanah comes dangerously close to crossing the line into an overly dramatic story—much like the stuff of Nollywood films—but Americanah more than makes up for this shortcoming with its fearless, intimate and blunt interrogations of hefty subjects like race, class, social manners, and even black women’s hair secrets.

((  Photo Credits: Book Cover Art  ))