“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013) – book review

Not my first, but the third read from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and am hoping by the next review I will be able to confidently type her name without needing to double check each word before I write. Daft thought: this book must always appear the first on any alphabetical bookshelf, whether for the author or for the name of the book…

C.N.A. has undeniably a very strong sense of how to carry a tale, and yet again this novel completely lived up to all expectations.

Her style is always engaging, and the pages are peppered with visual images that allow the reader to fully imagine and envisage the backdrop, be it Nigeria or the USA. It’s quite the love story, on a fair few levels, with love for country and an awareness of the times as well as the ongoing romance between Ifemelu and Obinze. It’s all about words too – there is much exploring of what one thing means to another when crossing cultures, and of course the protagonist starts her very successful blog as a means to talk about race and identity.

I’m loath to infer the closure of this book is weak, so it’s perhaps better to ask if the ending is necessarily what we wanted or expected, for indeed it does not spoil the novel as a whole. But did feel a shade disappointed by it. It certainly hasn’t hampered the choice reviews from all quarters – “Americanah” has been justifiably praised, and I look forward to the next little gem.

On a slightly different note, having been fascinated by the Ted Talk conducted by Monica Lewinsky  in March 2015, advocating for a more compassionate social media environment, have also been entreated to the 52-page essay written by Chimamanda entitled “We Should All Be Feminists“, bought with a friend on a recent sortie for a coffee that of course ended up with us in a bookstore. I’ve read it, I’ve passed it on to my 16 year old, and I would recommend you watch this 30-minute talk on YouTube. Ms Adichie is a straight talker, a passionate speaker – and she’s funny too. What a great role model.

NB. Did try to have a snoop at Chimamanda’s blog attached to her website – am I alone in not being able to access any posts?!?

Read October 2014.

“Americanah” rating : 10/10

Winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, One of The New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year 2013, Goodreads Best of the Year Nominee 2013, Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist 2014…

Image taken from here.
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7 Responses to “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013) – book review

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  3. lsalak says:

    I am a bit overcome by how much you read; do you read a book a day? That said, thanks to your review of “The Children Act,” I have been on an Ian McEwan binge, made frighteningly easy with the Kindle. I always pick up his stuff with a bit of trepidation, having first become acquainted with him, without knowing it was he, when I saw the movie version of “The Comfort of Strangers,” only later reading the book. ANYWAY, the binge reading kind of cuts into getting anything else done. That said, I’m on “Solar,” and had a major bout of incomprehension about the lipsalve. I don’t want to do any spoiling, so I’ll leave it at that. I feel guilty doing all this reading in English (what with being in France), but your reviews are so enticing, I just can’t resist!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s the same for us all – I do read every day, but in bursts, and I’m cheating rather by posting old and new mixed up together. Had kept notebook scraps on some of the earlier reads and that speeds things up no end, although the hardest thing now is all the new books I’m adding to the Not Read pile. Just can’t keep up.
    “Solar” is here on the shelves, for instance, so you will have to tell me what you think of it – looking on the back cover I.McE. seems to have gone the satirical route. Not sure how enticing that does sound – although am now intrigued to find out about the lipsalve too??? Keep me posted x

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