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477 pages, Hardcover
First published May 14, 2013
"Why did people ask "What is it about?" as if a novel had to be about only one thing."
“Why did people ask “What is it about?” as if a novel had to be about only one thing.”
As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?
“This was love, to be eager for tomorrow.”
“Race doesn't really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don't have that choice.”Ms. Adichie (who is, by the way, a stunning beauty) peppers her novel with this razor-sharp wit as she bespangles it with unique and shiny characters, mesmerizing the reader with eurhythmic dialogue and wringing the heart with a story of the protracted separation of young lovers into different cultures and the resulting moral dilemma many humans face, whether in reality, what-ifs or "I could see that happening to me."
“If you’re telling a non-black person about something racist that happened to you, make sure you are not bitter. Don’t complain. Be forgiving. If possible, make it funny. Most of all, do not be angry. Black people are not supposed to be angry about racism. Otherwise you get no sympathy. This applies only for white liberals, by the way. Don’t even bother telling a white conservative about anything racist that happened to you. Because the conservative will tell you that YOU are the real racist and your mouth will hang open in confusion.”