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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah

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Front Cover of Americanah

Back Cover of Americanah




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Genre Pages First Publisher First Publish Date
Historical Fiction 448 Alfred A Knopf May 2013



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian writer.

An Igbo from the South East region of Nigeria, she has been called "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors that is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature" Read more



IfemeluThe novel’s main protagonist, an intelligent, stubborn, outspoken Nigerian woman who moves to America to attend university. She has difficulty adjusting there but eventually becomes a citizen, wins a fellowship at Princeton, and starts a popular blog about race. She has periods of deep depression at times and often feels like an outsider. She has three serious boyfriends: Obinze, Curt, and Blaine. She eventually moves back to Nigeria, reconnects with Obinze, and builds a life for herself there.

Obinze MaduewesiThe other protagonist, a calm, thoughtful, intelligent young Nigerian man. He is raised by his mother, a professor, and is very well-read and obsessed with America. He moves to England after graduating university and tries to become a citizen, but is ultimately deported. He then becomes rich selling real estate in Nigeria. He marries Kosi and has a child, but never falls out of love with Ifemelu, whom he dated as a teenager.

Aunty UjuIfemelu’s aunt, an intelligent, strong-willed doctor. In Nigeria she becomes the mistress of The General and lives off of his wealth, but then she has to flee to America, where she lives a life of stress and hardship. She is always the closest to Ifemelu of any of her relatives, even after she seems to change and harden in America.


Dike, Ifemelu's Mother, Obinze's Mother, Ginika, Kimberly, Blaine, Curt, Kosi, Buchi, Aisha, Emenike, Mariama, Aunty Ibinabo, Laura, Barrack Obama, Michelle Obama, e.t.c.



"'Americanah' examines blackness in America, Nigeria and Britain, but it’s also a steady-handed dissection of the universal human experience—a platitude made fresh by the accuracy of Adichie’s observations - Mike Peed

"a hawkeyed observer of manners and distinctions in class," and said Adichie brings a "ruthless honesty about the ugly and beautiful sides of both" the United States and Nigeria - Emily Raboteau
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's narrative power matches the best across 'generation' of African writers- from Chinua Achebe to Calixthe Beyala and Ben Okri - Odia Ofeimun (Renowned Poet and Human Right Activist) A timeless love story steeped in our times - Alice Smith


Excerpt from Half of a Yellow Sun

Finally, Aisha finished with her customer and asked what colour Ifemelu wanted for her hair attachments.

“Colour four.”

“Not good colour,” Aisha said promptly.

“That’s what I use.”

“It look dirty. You don’t want colour one?”

“Colour one is too black, it looks fake,” Ifemelu said, loosening her headwrap. “Sometimes I use colour two, but colour four is closest to my natural colour.”

Aisha shrugged, a haughty shrug, as though it was not her problem if her customer did not have good taste. She reached into a cupboard, brought out two packets of attachments, checked to make sure theywere both the same colour.

She touched Ifemelu’s hair. “Why you don’t have relaxer?”

“I like my hair the way God made it.”

“But how you comb it? Hard to comb,” Aisha said.

Ifemelu had brought her own comb. She gently combed her hair, dense, soft and tightly coiled, until it framed her head like a halo. “It’s not hard to comb if you moisturize it properly,” she said, slipping into the coaxing tone of the proselytizer that she used whenever she was trying to convince other black women about the merits of wearing their hair natural. Aisha snorted; she clearly could not understand why anybody would choose to suffer through combing natural hair, instead of simply relaxing it. She sectioned out Ifemelu’s hair, plucked a little attachment from the pile on the table and began deftly to twist.

“It’s too tight,” Ifemelu said. “Don’t make it tight.” Because Aisha kept twisting to the end, Ifemelu thought that perhaps she had not understood, and so Ifemelu touched the offending braid and said,
“Tight, tight.”

Aisha pushed her hand away. “No. No. Leave it. It good.”

“It’s tight!” Ifemelu said. “Please loosen it.”

Mariama was watching them. A flow of French came from her. Aisha loosened the braid.d very well.”

But Ifemelu could see, from Aisha’s face, t

“Sorry,” Mariama said. “She doesn’t understan their hands on their wrappers, roughly jerk their customers’ heads to position them better, complain about how full or how hard or how short the hair was, shout out to passing women, while all the time conversing too loudly and braiding too tightly.hat she understood very well. Aisha was simply a true market woman, immune to the cosmetic niceties of American customer service. Ifemelu imagined her working in a market in Dakar, like the braiders in Lagos who would blow their noses and wipe



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Chimamanda Adichie

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