Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

15796700I’m only halfway through Americanah, so this isn’t so much of a review as it is a thank-heaven-for-this-book. In her phenomenal TED talk, Adichie points out that the only stories she knew growing up in Nigeria were stories of British school children–carrying umbrellas, drinking ginger beer, and talking of the weather, so she wrote those stories, too.

But she didn’t keep writing those stories. She moved on to these stories, and I’m so grateful.

What I like most is the way this book feels like a move forward from Achebe–maybe just because of it’s set in the present, but maybe also because reading Achebe’s work with my students now tends to reinforce the dominant Western narratives about “Africa”–whereas Adichie invites them to read a love story that involves airplanes and 9/11 and condoms and unemployed parents and professors and Princeton.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say when I finish reading this lovely book.


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