Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, book review
Summary and Review
Americanah is a novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, published in 2013. The critically acclaimed novel addresses the racial and cultural conflict between Africans and the rest of the world. Americanah is part of a ‘themed book series’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in her exploration of African cultural identity in the face of modernity and westernization. In a single twist of her literary creativity, the author focuses on themes such as feminism, cultural identity, westernization and love.
Ifemelu and obienze are the main characters in the novel. The story line follows their quest for survival away from home, as they flee their war-torn home country. The Nigerian civil war resulted in the death of scores of citizens and resulted in the displacement of scores of families from their original homelands. among the displaced are Obienze and Ifemelu. Ifemelu is educated and confident young African lady. She heads to America, fleeing the intensity of the war in her home country Obienze is the son of a scholar, who heads to London after refusal for entry in the United States. The separation between Obienze and Ifemelu threatens to wear down their love for each other. However, they remain ‘silently in touch’ with their love.
While in the United Kingdom, Obienze results to an undocumented civilian life. His options are seemingly limited, as he seeks accommodation at any place, other than his war-tone country. He proceeds to manage his life without raising suspicion from the authorities. Meanwhile, Ifemelu learns the ways of the American lifestyle. The new lifestyle is different in every way. She struggles to come to terms with the different aspects of the American culture and continues longing for home.
Obienze and Ifemelu later on their return home, and continue to re-ignite their love for each other. Obienze has managed to accumulate wealth and Ifemelu has been shaped by her experiences abroad.
Chumamanda Ngozi Adichie clearly articulates the African experience away from the continent. Obienze meets his own set of challenges in the United Kingdom, while Ifemelu makes considerable effort in getting acquainted with the American culture. The two youngster thrive in the face of challenges, and manage to head back home with better experiences apart from war. Ideally, they become influential cultural figures in their country, as it regains its strength from the effects of the civil war.
The determination of the African is evident in the lives of Obienze and Ifemelu. Despite the numerous challenges they encounter, they strive for improvement of their personal lives. The longing and later return home validates their regard for cultural belonging and and authenticity. In a way, Chimamanda argues that, home is where the heart belongs. The experiences away from home are important for the cultural and intellectual development of the individual. However, the one’s separation from their cultural roots marks their point of detachment with their sense of humanity.
The main characters in the novel include: Obienze and Ifemelu.