On the Same Page: Americanah

March-April 2017
book cover Americanah
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ostensibly a love story, Americanah tells the tale of childhood sweethearts in Nigeria whose lives take different paths when they seek their fortunes in America and England—but it is also a brilliant dissection of modern attitudes to race, spanning three continents and touching on issues of identity, loss and loneliness. 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 plans on joining her upon graduation, but he’s denied a U.S. visa. He manages to get to London where his plight is typical of illegal immigrants there.

Ifemelu, meanwhile, faces her own humiliations and indignities. She begins writing a provocative blog on being black in America that bristles with sharp, incisive observations about racism. When she decides to return home to Nigeria, she risks being designated as an affected “Americanah.” Americanah won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

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