Today’s book recommendation is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Americanah is at once a tender coming-of-age narrative, a love story that plays across three continents, and a keenly perceptive look at American society.
The protagonist, Ifemelu, grows up in Nigeria. Her trip to the United States to study turns into a fifteen-year stay, during which time she becomes an incisive observer of the ways that race and class inform American life.
Ifemulu returns to Nigeria in her mid-30s with a sense of self honed by her years abroad and with the tenuous possibility of finally reuniting with Obinze, a lost love.
Adichie’s style is full of careful naturalistic detail and wry humor. Her characters are as comfortable observing the little details of daily life—a frappuccino spilled on the train or the way roommates sometimes speak in exclamation points—as they are remembering the novels of Graham Greene.
Americanah has something to offer both students about to travel to America for the first time and for those who have always lived there.