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Americanah

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,0432231,511 (4.17)454
"A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected"--
  1. 50
    Open City by Teju Cole (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: More reflections on an African immigrant experience
  2. 40
    White Teeth by Zadie Smith (Cecilturtle)
  3. 20
    Brick Lane by Monica Ali (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 20
    Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (charl08)
  5. 10
    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (JuliaMaria)
  6. 10
    The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (JuliaMaria)
  7. 10
    Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole (gust)
    gust: De Nigeriaanse grootstad Lagos is (deels) de achtergrond van beide boeken.
  8. 00
    American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (viking2917)
    viking2917: Covers a lot of the same ground, but in the form of a Spy Novel
  9. 00
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (sturlington)
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» See also 454 mentions

English (206)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  Piratical (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (223)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
I really loved this book. The characters all felt real, with believable flaws and their own truths to tell. It definitely created empathy in me for both the immigrant experience as well as the black experience. While it sometimes felt like an indictment of America, it didn't feel too preachy, and Obinze's experience in England wasn't much different. (for that matter I expect much of the immigrant experience is the same no matter where you go - if you talk with American expats in Japan or Korea you hear entirely similar stories of how they are treated, for example). Pretty much nobody in the book was spared from having their foibles exposed :). And the book was often laugh-out-loud funny. If you enjoyed the feel of this I'd strongly recommend Lauren Wilkinson's American Spy, which covers a lot of the same ground but in the form of a spy novel of sorts. Also very good.... ( )
  viking2917 | Sep 25, 2020 |
I am not entirely sure how to feel about this book. The characters were diverse, nuanced, and well-developed, but none were particularly likable. Their experiences were engaging, but the reader didn't really root for positive outcomes, however those may have been defined. I identified with parts of the story from my own experiences--when Ifem spoke with her Nigerian friends, I could hear my Nigerian friends, when she spoke with the West African hair dressers, I could hear my West African hair ladies, and market ladies, and friends and neighbors. As a result, even though (despite being American), I couldn't relate to much of Ifem's time in America in learning the African-American experience, I had to believe it to be true, despite my discomfort in reading it. ( )
  sanyamakadi | Aug 7, 2020 |
just utterly brilliant and epic in scope, maximalist in ideas and imaginative and novelistic force; a real experience a little disheartening to read when attempting to write one's own novel haha, but as a reading experience, top notch. as an examination of american race relations and nigerpolitan identity, unparalleled. both an emotional and political act of education. i loved it. ( )
  boredgames | Aug 4, 2020 |
The voice here is wonderful and the observations on American, British and Nigerian cultures and the ways they interact are pointed, inventive and often thrillingly acerbic. The novel is very insightful and unsparing on American academic culture as well, often painfully so.

I loved this sentence, which perfectly captures the puffed up importance of so many young academics (black, white or purple):

A precious performance, Blaine had called it, in that gently forbearing tone he used when they talked about novels, as though he was sure that she, with a little more time and a little more wisdom, would come to accept that the novels he liked were superior, novels written by young and youngish men and packed with things, a fascinating, confounding accumulation of brands and music and comic books and icons, with emotions skimmed over, and each sentence stylishly aware of its own stylishness.

Perhaps my reading experience was also enhanced by the copy I read, distributed to advisers to incoming Duke undergrads. I don't mind that the cover was stamped with a "Class of 2018" Duke seal. But why did the white male dean have to include his letter to undergrads on the very first page, as if we needed his wisdom prior to delving into this masterful work? As if, without his intro, somehow the underlying value of Adichie's work would be lost? It's a development that I think the author herself would find rich, funny and telling. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
4.5 stars
After having read the stunning Half of a Yellow Sun, I was really looking forward to reading more of Adichie’s work. She did not disappoint with Americanah. Though I do feel the storyline could’ve used a clearer direction (maybe telling the story in chronological order or more chapters from Obinze’s point of view), Adichie managed to describe the complexity of racial issues in an elegant yet direct way. I especially enjoyed the first half of the book when the story took place in Nigeria - it gave me, a European, a lot of insight into the modern life and social dynamics of Nigeria. The romance felt slightly off and predictable at times, but I enjoyed their chemistry nevertheless. Adichie once again proves she’s a gifted writer with this honest novel. ( )
  frtyfour | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
The stories have shifted, too. Nowadays, there’s little angsting about national identity in a post-colonial context or, for that matter, over catastrophe and want. Instead, a bevy of young Africans are shaping the future of fiction, reportage and critique on their continent, and perhaps well beyond.

“It’s beyond an evolution — it’s a revolution,” says Nigerian-American Ikhide Ikheloa, a critic and prominent observer of the scene.

It may have begun in 2003, when Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was published — and not just by an American publisher but by a Nigerian one, too. By now, Adichie is the still-young doyenne of the contemporary African lit scene. Her recent novel, Americanah, found a perch on the New York Times list of top 10 novels of 2013 — just weeks before Beyoncé sampled one of Adichie’s TED talks on her new album.

Read more: Printed in Africa | Fast forward | OZY
added by elwetritsche | editOzy, Pooja Bhatia (Jan 31, 2014)
 
But what makes the book such a good read—despite an anticlimactic ending—is that it's not meant as a cultural criticism, but more as a series of rich observations.
added by WeeklyAlibi | editWeekly Alibi, Mark Lopez (Jul 4, 2013)
 
“Americanah” examines blackness in America, Nigeria and Britain, but it’s also a steady-handed dissection of the universal human experience — a platitude made fresh by the accuracy of Adichie’s observations.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, MIKE PEED (Jun 7, 2013)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngoziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andoh, AdjoaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weintraub, AbbyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This book is for our next generation, nda na-abia n'iru: Toks, Chisom, Amaka,

Chinedum, Kamsiyonna and Arinze

For my wonderful father in this, his eightieth year

And, as always, for Ivara.
First words
Princeton, in the summer, smelled of nothing, and Ifemelu like the tranquil greenness of the many trees, the clean streets and stately homes, the delicately shops and the quiet, abiding air of earned grace, it was this, the lack of a smell, that most appealed to her, perhaps because the other American cities she knew well had all smelled distinctly.
Quotations
...her relationship with him was like being content in a house but always sitting by the window and looking out.
How easy it was to lie to strangers, to create with strangers the versions of our lives that we have imagined.
She was taking two sides at once, to please everyone; she always chose peace over truth, was always eager to conform.
She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: a self-affection. He made her like herself. With him, she was at ease; her skin felt as though it was her right size.
She liked how he wore their relationship so boldly, like a brightly colored shirt. Sometimes she worried that she was too happy. She would sink into moodiness, and snap at Obinze, or be distant. And her joy would become a restless thing, flapping its wings inside her, as though looking for an opening to fly away.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected"--

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Book description
As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu - beautiful, self-assured - departs for America to study. She experiences defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race.

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 dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, he 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. But when Ifemelu decides to return home, she and Obinze will face the toughest decisions of their lives.
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