Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
After loving Half of a Yellow Sun, I was eager to read more of this wonderful, intelligent woman who made me fall in love with Nigeria from the distance.
Americanah is set between the United States of America and Nigeria. It is a story about the African diaspora and experience in the USA and England. The young Nigerians Ifemelu and Obinze, so in love as teenagers, get separated when Ifemelu moves to the US where she attends university and starts a successful blog discussing race issues in America. Obinze experiences a different life in the UK. Once the intelligent and confident cool-kid in Nigeria, he lives in England as an illegal immigrant until finally being deported. Race and migration are the major topics of this novel. Especially the experiences of black immigrants in the USA are discussed, seamlessly interwoven into an entertaining story.
I enjoyed reading Americanah, though as a novel it was less gripping than Half of a Yellow Sun. The basic structure of the love-story is more "common", more predictable. However, this familiar backdrop might make it easier to comprehend the complex issues discussed and it emphasises the unusual character development which is described with great nuance. Furthermore, for me Adichie's writing is not about the story as much as it is about her detailed observations and and poignant descriptions of interactions, social and political relations as well as her political commentary.
Americanah was essentially a long essay on race, society, politics, migration and economics, wrapped in a young and dynamic narrative, and I don't mind that at all.