Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie has much smart stuff to say about the experience of leaving Nigeria for a “better” life in the US and England, and why people might prefer to return to Nigeria. That’s a lot to do with race. While her protagonist says she didn’t think of herself as black until she was told she was in the US, her on-and-off-again lover has a starker experience in England, a victim of being unable to climb out of his non-work visa status to climb the class-ladder, the prerequisite for any success in the Old World. That’s not to say Nigerian society is a bed of roses, with its obsession with tacky wealth and its stifling necessity for connections (ie sucking up to get ahead). There are interesting asides about the rise of Obama and what that says and doesn’t say about US society, blog posts telling it like it is about African (as distinct from African American) experiences but ultimately Americanah is a romance of lost and found love.

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No. 20 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2021.

Patrick Sherriff is an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.