Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah

I found Americanah to be similar to many of the other immigrant novels I've read, but unlike those, which described coming to "America" from China or India, this was the first I've read about immigrants coming from Africa. I confess that I knew very little about Nigeria before reading it, but after finishing the novel, I now have a richer understanding of some of the tensions in that country as well as the some of the tensions that complicate race relations between Africans, African Americans and white Americans, as experienced by her two Nigerian protagonists.

‘When I started in real estate, I considered renovating old houses instead of tearing them down, but it didn't make sense. Nigerians don’t buy houses because they’re old. A renovated two-hundred-year-old mill granary, you know, the kind of thing Europeans like. It doesn't work here at all. But of course it makes sense because we are Third Worlders and Thirds Worlders are forward-looking, we like things to be new, because our best is still ahead, while in the West their best is already past and so they have to make a fetish of that past.’” (Obinze speaking to Ifemelu, 538-9)

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