Book of the Month: January 2014


Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We are thrilled to ring in a brand new year with our January 2014 Book of the Month – Americanah. The novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a fixture on nearly all of the “Best of 2013” book lists, and was named as one of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of the Year. Adichie is widely regarded as one of the most important voices to emerge in contemporary African literature.

Like all of her work, Americanah is a deep exploration of race, identity, and the immigrant experience of trying to live in two worlds simultaneously. Adichie has said, “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.” According to the writer herself, this is a powerful book, and we are proud to add it to our recommendations for book club readers.


Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, who fell in love as teenagers in Lagos, Nigeria, where they both shared the dream of emigrating to the United States. Ifemelu leaves Lagos first for Brooklyn, where she lives with family before heading to college in Philadelphia. But when the 9/11 attacks destroy Obinze’s hopes for a visa, he ends up instead in London as an undocumented immigrant.

Fifteen years later Obinze is now back in Lagos, a wealthy man; Obinze is at Princeton, blogging on the subject of race in America; and Nigeria is now a fledgling democracy. Ifemelu finds herself longing for her native Nigeria, and for her long-lost love, but when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is the author of three novels, Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013), and a short story collection, The Thing around Your Neck (2009). She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2008).

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