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Americanah

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  120,109 Ratings  ·  12,576 Reviews
From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leav
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Hardcover, 477 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Knopf
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Nancy Vegas Laura, you know you don't really want an answer to your very rude question. As an immigrant and now citizen of this country I can tell you with…moreLaura, you know you don't really want an answer to your very rude question. As an immigrant and now citizen of this country I can tell you with certainty- I did not want to immigrate here. I did so because of Colonization and Western economic policy that was enforced in Latin America which ruined our political system. Immigration is not a matter of the 'American Dream' as the media has told you, it's a matter of economic displacement. Why don't you go back to Europe?(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Rowena
Jun 11, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in 2013. "Americanah" is a book of great impact and importance. This is the one book by an African writer that has spoken to me more than any other.

This is a book about Africa and the African diasporic experience in the USA and England, a backdrop for the love story between Ifemelu and Obinze, teenagers attending a Nigerian university who have to leave the country because of the university strikes in Nigeria. Ifemelu moves to the States, where she attends an Ameri
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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
UPDATE: Now with irritating author interview! See end of review.

Those of you who know me know I don’t really have favorite authors: I have favorite books, occasionally favorite series. So you won’t be surprised that after I thought Half of a Yellow Sun was amazing and Purple Hibiscus and The Thing Around Your Neck fairly good, I’m giving 2 stars (edit: 1 star) to Adichie’s latest. Typical. But really, yikes! This isn't even a novel: it's a 477-page opinion essay with some characters thrown in.

Re
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Somi
Feb 16, 2013 Somi rated it really liked it
In Nigeria, we are brought up on foreign movies, sitcoms and TV shows, foreign books and foreign news. We know how English should be spoken, and many of us who bother to read a lot are very familiar with the colloquialisms of the west.

This is perhaps why we do not recognize how much we miss our own particularly Nigerian way of expression in the literature we read. It is perhaps why, when we read a phrase that is essentially Nigerian, in a novel like Americanah... “Tina-Tina, how now?” “Why are y
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Brina
A few weeks ago I read The Thing Around Your Neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short story collection, and was immediately struck with her attention to detail in stories as short as six pages long. Desiring more of her captivating prose, I chose Americanah, her intricate discussion on race in three countries and continents. Taking place in Nigeria, the United States, and England, Americanah can be viewed by many as a novel that is one of the premier looks on race over the last five years.

Ifemelu
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Kaykay Obi
May 04, 2013 Kaykay Obi rated it it was amazing
Americanah is a love story, not the kind of love stories I grew up reading, those with really beautiful women and handsome tall guys. In fact, the lovers in this one aren’t too attractive, but their love is. Their love is beautiful, but then it is tried, beaten, stretched, yet it endures and gets stronger.

Okay, love aside. Americanah deals on the subject of race and hair. You may wonder how hair could be an issue, but it is in this book. The book begins in a hairdresser shop, where Ifemelu goes
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Roxane
Aug 01, 2013 Roxane rated it really liked it
There's a lot going on here. This book is a beautiful mess. Adichie takes on race, immigration and emigration, the politics of natural hair, interracial relationships, what it means to leave home, and what it means to return, all wrapped up in a love story. The book is, at points, indulgent, just on and on the writing goes, the writer showing off her admittedly impressive way with words. Stronger editing would have done wonders for this book. But when this book is good, it is absolutely brillian ...more
Julie
"What is it with you Americans and race?" my friend Fatima asked me one day over lunch. We were in her country, France, both students at a university tucked in a shadow of an Alpine peak. "Everyone always wanted to know where I was from. I'd tell them France and they'd say, no, where are you from? It made no sense. I was born in France. I'm French." Fatima, with her brown sugar skin and currant-black eyes, then turned to her boyfriend Karim and Arabic poured from her in a river of throaty conson ...more
Maxwell
Feb 19, 2014 Maxwell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, i-own-it, 2015
Everyone should read this book.

Adichie has really hit her stride in this one. After having read and adored her previous works, I knew I would love this one, and it didn't disappoint. It is by far her best work, and you can see the progression of her writing skill in Americanah.

Characters are what Adichie does best. Her books become progressively less plot-driven, but her ability to engage the reader with flawed, true characters is where she excels. Ifemelu is brazen and perhaps, to some, unlikea
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Dincy
Apr 14, 2013 Dincy rated it it was amazing
I'm only about halfway through this book but I am enthralled. I was afraid that I was over-eager and could only be disappointed, that I had set the bar too high, that I should remember that Adichie is only human, after all. But my fears were misplaced. ''Chimmy'' is back as strong as ever. I am mildly amused at how she's promoted the book in her interviews as being "about hair". This book is about race, and culture. (Admittedly, that's what it says in the blurb.) Anyway, so far, it is brilliantl ...more
Debbie
May 25, 2014 Debbie rated it it was ok
Warning: I love being part of the crowd, and the crowd is mostly all gushy about this book. But seriously, I wish I had walked away from it. I really wanted to like it, I really did.

This was the longest book of my life!!! 610 (Kindle) pages that felt like 1,000. I would be reading along and thinking, oh, I’m a little bored, let’s see how far I’ve gotten….and I’d look down at the bottom of my Kindle page and see that the progress bar hadn’t moved an iota!!! 17 percent, really? I’ve read all that,
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Melanie
Mar 22, 2014 Melanie rated it it was amazing
"But beyond race, the book is about the immigrant’s quest: self-invention, which is the American subject. “Americanah” is unique among the booming canon of immigrant literature of the last generation (including writers Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gary Shteyngart, Chang-rae Lee, Dinaw Mengestu and Susan Choi). Its ultimate concern isn’t the challenge of becoming American or the hyphenation that requires, but the challenge of going back home."
Emily Raboteau in the Washington Post

I could not say it
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Mena
Jun 03, 2013 Mena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sigh. I really wanted to be here for this novel, but damn: the two main characters - especially Ifemelu - were barely likeable after her move to America, all the other characters (especially the Americans and "nouveau riche" Nigerians) were very one-dimensional, the adjective use was next level and I felt like I was being lectured half the damn time. Adichie's prose is beautiful and she knows how to evoke emotion, but her politics - at least on the topic of race and class - feel very staid: I di ...more
María
Nov 18, 2016 María rated it it was amazing
Una vez leí que Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie era una de las voces más potentes que teníamos en literatura en este siglo. Pensé: menuda exageración. Prejuzgué, sin ni siquiera haberla leído. Tiempo después me hice con Americanah. Me siento feliz de decir que me equivocaba. No estaban exagerando.
Chaitra
It's my first Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book for some reason. My only experience with Nigerian literature heretofore has been Things Fall Apart which I've read multiple times and think exquisite. I had no notion of what to expect with this book, but I do know I was hoping for an idea of a modern Nigeria. I'm also always up for cultural clashes and the dynamics of race, so this was all set to be a fantastic experience.

Obviously, that didn't happen and for the most part, this book is a disappointm
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Cas
Jul 13, 2013 Cas rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
I enjoyed this writer's previous novels and expected to like this one too, but I was disappointed. There are several reasons for this but the one that had the most impact was the sense that the writer wasn't sure what type of novel this should be. Was it a love story, a story of immigration, the story of black people in today's America - the issues all merely rolled out but never properly addressed - or was it an attempt to educate readers on the differences between the various ethnic black grou ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
"when white people say dark they mean Greek or Italian but when black people say dark they mean Grace Jones"

Weak as a love story but powerful in its social commentary. I found a lot of similarities between people of Nigeria described here and that of India- people wanting to migrate to developed countries and real estate being the only investment that attracts the rich.

" There are many different ways to be poor in the world but increasingly there seems to be one single way to be rich.”


Then, th
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Carol
Nov 21, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audio-books
The Hook - A promise to myself to get to some of those books on my TBR pile. One down, thousands to go.

The Line“How easy it was to lie to strangers, to create with strangers the versions of our lives we imagined.”

The Sinker – I loved the journey I took with the author and characters in Americanah, what I call more a story of love than one of race or color. This is not to say I didn’t think about race or color because I did. What struck me most about his is how little I know about what is refe
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Kinga
Aug 09, 2014 Kinga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-women-2014
Adichie and I seem to share sensibilities and I often mention her as one of my favourite authors, even if I often think she lets herself off too easily. Which is another thing we seem to have in common, as I tend to let myself off too easily too. What I mean by that is that I wanted more, let’s call it, ‘epicness’. Adichie is a wonderful writer and she can churn out a great book without really trying. I want to know what would happen if she really tried.

Americanah is really Race 101 and you wou
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Perry
Mar 14, 2016 Perry rated it really liked it
Suscitation by Fiery Watchful Wit

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” Anais Nin. This novel reminds me of Nin's quote about a writer's ability to perceive truth, otherwise shaded by everyday familiarity. Adichie's ability in this regard, mixed with her mordant wit, makes her observations, as a Nigerian immigrant, on race and gender in America both
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Mari
Jun 09, 2016 Mari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Check out my review and discussion of Americana.

I started this book at the beginning of this year and put it aside after a single chapter because I wasn't convinced I would enjoy it. This is why I come back to books, because sometimes I'm wrong and sometimes it takes a second look.

I'm so glad I gave Americanah another chance because it is one of just a few 5 star books I've read this year. It is smart, funny, well written, sincere and overall something to be experienced. I want to use the word
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Sam
I've been trying to formulate exactly what I think and how I feel about Americanah, a frustrating but fascinating read. And ultimately, I think that as a novel of ideas, concepts, exploration of how we as humans of various backgrounds understand and confront identity and immigration and race in the modern day, and a spotlight on the Nigerian and African diaspora in the US and UK, Americanah has much to recommend the reader, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's intelligent observations and smart, incis ...more
Asgrl
May 09, 2013 Asgrl rated it it was amazing
This was so good I cried. It felt like someone finally got it. That feeling of straddling your good but humble african upbringing, realizing the benefits of coming to America but struggling to fit in because of issues you had no previous understanding of but are dumped in to sink or swim.

I was worried about reading this book because of pre-interviews I had seen which made it appear as though she was very "Marie Antoinette" like in her understanding of the plight of the average Nigerian as some
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Elyse
Dec 11, 2013 Elyse rated it it was amazing
Lots to chew on in "Americanah"!! I liked it!!!
*Note to my friends from last year...( 2 thumbs up for me: did I break the tie?)

To chew ... To chew ... To chew....on:
.... Immigration experiences.
.... A love story
.... Race relations....( especially American-Africans)
.... Class hierarchy in America
.... Tribalism
.... Kinky African hair
.....Nigerian born heroine
..... Philosophies, values, morals, etc.

Ifemelu began life in Nigeria which existed under military dictatorship. She attended Lagos
sec
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Veronica hates cheating/disloyal heros in "Romance" books
DNF so no stars
Review to come

Update March 8th

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT
RANT ALERT WITH candid OPINION ON DIFFICULT TOPICS,

About three things I AM absolutely positive:

First, Americanah is not the best read for those of us who are starting to discover Diverse reads and diverse authors.

Second, there's a part of the goodreads community-and I don’t know how numerous that part might be-that is afraid to give low ratings to books that recieve critical praise.

And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocabl
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Paul
Aug 17, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-novels
I loved this book; even though it was long and essentially a romance, but there was so much more to it. It is also about race, gender and the nature of home. As the Guardian review points out, it is an exploration of structural inequality and types of oppression, but it is wrapped in a love story.
The novel revolves around Ifemelu and Obinze and their on/off relationship over time and distance. It starts in their teenage years in Nigeria and follows them around the world; Ifemelu to the US and O
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Jennifer
Jan 11, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I enjoyed Adichie's novel Purple Hibiscus, but this book was a slog, for multiple reasons. I wish Adichie had written a memoir, rather than a semi-autobiographical, overly-long, meandering novel wherein we are treated to the narrator's supercilious, self-important observations about immigration, race, and class. The observations are keen and I don't disagree with their general message, but the delivery is smug and repetitive, an endless series of cocktail and dinner party scenes where the narrat ...more
KOHEY.Y.
Sep 16, 2016 KOHEY.Y. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library
Yeah,VIBRANCY oozing through the pages!No-miracle,that-is-the-way-love-goes story dripping with PASSION.Helps me stop to wonder how arrogant it is labelling people as“Blacks”for our easy definition.For some the word Black doesn’t exist.We just make it.
helen the bookowl
Nov 25, 2014 helen the bookowl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would take me days to read because of its tiny font and many pages, but it actually only took me a couple of days. That just goes to show how fantastic this book is.
I've only read one other of Chimamanda's books - "Half of a Yellow Sun" - so I kind of thought that I knew what I was going into. However, "Americanah" is very different! The tone of voice is so honest and Chimamanda's many observations of American vs. Nigerian culture are remarkable.
This is a book about the cul
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Laurie Anderson
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!

You should read it RIGHT NOW!
Aubrey
I realized I could buy America, and it lost its shine.
I was all set to respond the most popular review of this until I realized my annoyance at its one star kerfuffle did not outweigh the amount of fucks I did not give. Let people have their disparagement of different humor and "not all (US) Americans!" and collections of opinions masquerading as novels (do realize though that the only piece of work that truly isn't a collection of opinions would have to be entirely computer generated without
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author. Her best known novels are Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013).

She was born in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At nineteen, Chimamanda left for the U.S. to study communication at Drexel Universit
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“The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America. When you are black in America and you fall in love with a white person, race doesn’t matter when you’re alone together because it’s just you and your love. But the minute you step outside, race matters. But we don’t talk about it. We don’t even tell our white partners the small things that piss us off and the things we wish they understood better, because we’re worried they will say we’re overreacting, or we’re being too sensitive. And we don’t want them to say, Look how far we’ve come, just forty years ago it would have been illegal for us to even be a couple blah blah blah, because you know what we’re thinking when they say that? We’re thinking why the fuck should it ever have been illegal anyway? But we don’t say any of this stuff. We let it pile up inside our heads and when we come to nice liberal dinners like this, we say that race doesn’t matter because that’s what we’re supposed to say, to keep our nice liberal friends comfortable. It’s true. I speak from experience.” 779 likes
“Racism should never have happened and so you don't get a cookie for reducing it.” 511 likes
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