My first thought upon finishing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, my second of hers, was I need to collect the rest of her works as soon as possible.
This book had been sitting on my shelf for about six months before a book club finally encouraged me to pick it up. I'm so glad I did.
Adichie is a wonderful storyteller. I mean, her first sentence is 61 words and has 11 commas and it works. That's almost unheard of. Her writing flows so well, even when she is dealing with difficult topics. I had to force myself to put the book down to go to work. I devoured it in two days.
Americanah is the story of a young man and young woman living in Nigeria under military dictatorship. Their university studies are constantly interrupted by strikes and she decides to take a scholarship at an American university, with the plan that he will follow.
She has to learn to navigate her new surroundings and the two are pulled apart. He can't get into post-9/11 America and ends up an undocumented immigrant in England.
She ends up writing a very popular blog on race issues, something that didn't exist for her living in Nigeria. There were some poignant observations on immigration and race issues, including distinctions between American Blacks and Non-American Blacks, and differences between England and the States.
There's one line in particular that hurts a bit in this four-year-old book: "America has always been kinder to immigrants than Europe," an English woman said at a dinner party. Oh, how things have changed. Maybe that makes this even more important of a book now.