Prolific and widely respected Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is at it again with her new book, Americanah. Brilliant read, great story, amazing intentions, wonderful telling, perfect setting and most important of all, warm reception (as everyone’s beginning to get used to the fact that mind products from Chimamanda have got to be intellectually puzzling, stimulating and at the same time, dazzling).
Did I expect Americanah to not touch race related issues for which the writer is additively passionate about. No. Never crossed my mind. Americanah, though a reflection of the writer’s own personal experiences, still possesses it’s own life. Even though the story holds some sort of relative and imaginative strings to it, Chimamanda is quick to oppose – as it were – experimental fiction. “There’s an immense arrogance about certain kinds of experimental fiction and for me art is about a certain humility.”
“I want to tell a story, I hope, of course, that the sentences are good sentences, but I don’t want my style to get in the way of character.”
Chimamanda confesses to have been shocked at her previous knowledge of what it meant to be Black (with all of its unpleasant consequences) at the time she left Nigeria and a medical path to America to be become a writer. The lady is still in the process of grasping the “Black” and “Sistah” concept, everyday, though not fully absorbed in it entirely as is naturally perceived, she gets it and is a long way from where she stood with her convictions many years ago. “There was an assumption that I knew what it meant to be Black. People would ask me for ‘the black perspective,’ and I had no idea what that was”, she admits over a decade later after settling in the system. She probably didn’t settle in as expected and couldn’t understand why preferences to fried chicken was considered a perspective based on race. “I remember seriously thinking, ‘Can I ask why this is racist?’” she utters, laughing “Race is such an absurd thing. You have to learn it. She adds later on. And yes, the “Afropolitan” term interpreted to be younger, foreign-educated Africans doesn’t appeal to her one bit. Chimamanda is one African who isn’t afraid or intimidated to say so.
“I’m not an Afropolitian. I’m African, happily so, I’m comfortable in the world, and it’s not that unusual. Many Africans are happily African and don’t think they need a new term.”
“My experience as an outsider has very much shaped how I look at the world, But my eyes are still very Nigerian”, she states as a matter of fact.
Though she takes pride in being recognized as “African”, the writer would really love to step one foot on the African soil and leave another on foreign grounds, as much as she’d love to, garnering all of the experience that she needs. And this, she does, delightfully. “I have a home in Lagos (Nigeria), it’s where I’m happiest,” she gleefully admits. “But then I like leaving Nigeria, and I have a home in Maryland.”
Americanah, is a book that addresses issues on the platform of the lives of its interesting characters. It’s involving. Chimamada‘s books always are. We know it will make an interesting read for you as the writer even admits it’s not all issue talk, it’s “a lush, lush love story,”. Hope you love it but trust me, you will! If her Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus proved really interesting reads for you then this one is a must get.by