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Americanah (2013)

Americanah (2013)

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4.17 of 5 Votes: 3
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0307271080 (ISBN13: 9780307271082)

About book Americanah (2013)

An interesting read with a consistent perspective. My only encounter of the author before reading this book was through a Ted talk of hers, where she talked about "the danger of the single story". In a nutshell, she spoke of how Africa is misinterpreted as a singular unit by non-Africans due to the massive campaigns surrounding this notion. At the time, the talk appealed to me for it's analysis of something I thought of as mundane and brushed off. Although I have never been out of Kenya and the closest I've been to international travel was a time when I briefly crossed the Kenya-Uganda border, I've grown up watching western films and reading western books. I suddenly became aware of how the characters would almost always say Africa while referring to a specific place. She even helped me realize why I love that South African comedian Trevor Noah so much, with his comical depictions on white people stereotypes of black people. That excitement is what made me pick up a copy of Americanah. I so eagerly wanted to see what this woman thought in full light. At first, I maintained that initial fervour and kept on agreeing furiously to what Ifemelu thought. I was incredulous to the parochial nature of those foreigners, and glad of the shared opinion I had with Ifemelu. All along I was aware of the ideologies the author was pushing, as she did not present them subtly but as the book's central themes, often in lengthy blog posts. Perhaps I expected more, but the consistency turned into a bitter complaint by the author of a hushed racial and African authenticity struggle in a foreign country. The main character, Ifemelu, became synonymous with this struggle and my mental image of her became that of Adichie, although I knew nothing of the author past the aforementioned talk. I began struggling through the pages and the other themes such as love became mere nuances supporting the author's view. I yearned for these themes and welcomed them for they were the only reasons I kept on reading the book. So perhaps I am not the right audience for this text. Perhaps I am of limited scope due to my lack of travel. Perhaps I should have read her other works before moving onto this one. At one point I tried to imagine whether I would have enjoyed the book more if I'd studied in the US and undergone similar episodes as an American-African (which I suspect Ms. Chimamanda Adichie went through). I guess only time will tell. I would recommend it to anyone of African origin moving to the states or anyone who wants a glimpse of what it's like to be an African in the diaspora. All in all I found it an interesting, educating book with lots of opinion, but not a late night page turner. Wonderful writing with insights into a world white folk rarely see or experience. I had some difficulty reading the novel because I never sat down for several hours and absorbed the flow. The story moves around in time and space and being able to stay with it for a long period would have added to my enjoyment. Might be something I should take on my next long flight. I look forward to reading other books by Adichie.

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One of the best books I've ever read, it sparkles in my mind.

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