Longlisted – Baileys Women’s Prize 2014
As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?
©2013 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2013 W F Howes Ltd
"Andoh's rich voice and distinct characters and rhythm keep the listener engrossed.... Andoh has fun adopting a mocking lilt for Ifemelu's snarky blog entries.... [and] a more serious tone brings authenticity to the heartbreak of Obinze's London experience." (AudioFile)
Being South African - stories about race touch a nerve and I therefore found the descriptions of racism in America so interesting to read. There are so many similarities in what is suffered in our country and in what this story was about that it touched me very deeply.
The 'heroine' Adichie. She is so real and the novel felt like an autobiography. I identified with her continuously and felt every moment she talked about.
A Scene in a hair salon where she is having her hair braided. This is not something that many white people think about, how painful it is having your hair continuously pulled and the descriptions of the people in the hair salon were wonderful.
No, not really. It is a book that touched me deeply and made me feel very emotional so that I sometimes needed space between listening to chapters. But I finished it in four days, so I did not need too much space.
I highly recommend this book.
I work at a small college. I like humorous books and books where the main character triumphs. I do not like religious books or mysteries.
I loved this book. The story is very compelling and the reader does a wonderful job of bringing life to the characters.
No, this is the first time I have listened to any of Adjoa Andoh's performances.
I liked breaking this up into smaller sessions, so that I can enjoy it in small doses.
this portrayed two different themes - one is the coming of age in to maturation of a 20 year old bright young woman, and the other is the point of view on race of a non american black . Both points of view were interesting, well written, and complimented each other effortlessly.
What a fantastic novel and even more astonishing performance by the narrator!
I adored Ifemelu, so smart and straight-talking and wonderful. I could see why Obinze loved her so, and their relationship was utterly convincing. The insight into race in America is clear-eyed and honest, but it's not a didactic novel by any means. It pulses with warmth and humour. Just glorious.
On the narration: Having seen some of the American reviewers complaining about Adjoa Andoh's American accent... I could just imagine what Ifemelu would say about that! "Oh yes, because Americans are so well known for their skill at rendering the accents of other nationalities!" The American accents are completely fine, and they certainly don't all sound like Fran Drescher! The range of accents Andoh presents is vast and astonishingly good, and her general narration is simply lovely.
i like to read. i like to listen.
i can definitely understand why this novel has been put on many of the 'best of' lists for this year.
i found it quite amusing and full of witty commentary, observations and opinions about race in America. i neither liked nor disliked either of the main characters...and i didn't really have any deep interest in whether their spanning relationship worked out or if it didn't.
but overall i enjoyed both of their separate life experiences and found the relationships they had with each other and with their friends and family very realistic. both characters made bad decisions...and good decisions...but the way they both displayed and celebrated their race differently living in the modern world in America, Nigeria and England under the racial pretense of this book was very interesting.
it wasn't my personal favorite of 2013, but it's a solid read that i'm not sorry i took on.
the narrator was awesome.
Adjoa Andoh's Nigerian accent (presumably accurate, though how would I know?). I loved hearing the Igbo spoken aloud.
Ifemelu, of course. She is spirited, judgmental, warm, impulsive, and real.
I'd recommend she work on her American accent. We don't all sound like Fran Drescher nursing a head cold. (And "Maryland" is not pronounced "Merry-land.")
Almost. I did have to take a break from the audiobook during long sections of dialogue because of the American accent thing. Luckily I had the paper book on hand, so I could read some of those portions rather than listen to them.
A wonderful book about race, class, Nigeria, America, academia, immigration, and hair.
An active 50-plus year old woman living her life. I enjoy the great outdoors, concerts, working out, dancing, and listening to all kinds of audio books. I prefer to listen then read, this way I can do two things at once.
YES YES YES
Here talking about Nigeria, in Loas. This is the best Africian read.
No I haven't but will be looking for more of her books.
Adichie is such an powerful voice. Americanah was lite but powerfully honest about race, culture, and relationships. It is one of those books you hate to finish. Adichie is a keen observer of this human experience, especially for people of African descent. I thank her for brilliantly putting it into such a wonderful story. The performance by Adjoa Andoh was great. Loved it!!!!!!
I would love to. Adichie's extraordinarily rich language, so beautifully and poetically read by Adjoa Andoh. A story that crosses continents and cultures with insight, sensitivity and startling authenticity.
I loved them all.
I wish I was more attracted to the McCall Smith detective series, because Andoh's interpretation would be the tipping point. I could listen to her all day.
Ifem. I identified with her immigrant's search for home.
"A brave novel let down by a timid performance"
I would recommend the novel to any African diaspora/returnee. I would however have to warn them that the narrator could not pronounce any of the names and couldn't bail any of the accents. If this is likely to annoy you then buy the text and read it.
I normally like Adichie’s style and stories, but this book felt different. The protagonists' story is engaging at the start, but then the narration turns into a lecture about racism. It felt as if the author wanted to make a point, and then bang it over your head again and again, and then some more. I don’t disagree with the points she’s trying to make, but rather with the delivery- if I’d wanted to be lectured about how white folks don’t realize they’re being racist, I would’ve read an essay. All the secondary characters seem to be exactly the same- arrogant, pretentious and unaware of their racism and ignorance about Africa, whether they are in the London or the US. One would expect more subtlety and skill from an author of this magnitude.
All in all, this novel is not remotely as engaging or insightful as Half of a Yellow Sun or The Purple Ibiscus and the tonal repetitions of similar episodes make the reading quite dull. I wish it had been much shorter or edited better, perhaps then I would’ve enjoyed it more. Still, not an entirely terrible listen, particularly thanks to the ability of the narrator, who displays a vast array of accents.
"A superb achievement"
I loved this book. The story is convincing, I cared about the main characters, I was kept guessing, and I was drawn completely into their world.
Ifemelu's journey – from an outsider to whom everything is new and unexpectedly strange, to confident resident alien in the USA – was one I could relate to from personal experience. Like her, I was eventually pulled back home, never entirely feeling a sense of belonging, yet recognising the positive aspects of American life and values that are often overlooked by the country's critics (many of them from a point of ignorance).
The descriptions of American society and the minefield of cultural groupings and sensitivities that take so long to navigate are right on the mark here. Yet the narrative flows naturally, the characters have depth (even when they're apparently there to represent stereotypes!), and the social observation blends seamlessly with the story itself: Ifemelu's account of how her life unfolds, and to a lesser extent Obinze's story in England, too. Most of all, the love story is powerful and completely credible. It's a masterpiece of storytelling.
The narration is virtually flawless and I enjoyed having this story read to me. I'll probably go back to the beginning and listen to it all again!
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a gift for simply painting pictures. I listened to this having read Half of a Yellow Sun and really enjoying it. Her grasp and description of human relationships is amazing.
She hits the nail on the head in so many ways, culturally, emotionally, and observationally. I am a fan.
Adjoa Andoh is also a fantastic narrator, accents nuanced and spot on.
I listened while driving to work and would arrive having been totally sucked in.
"As an American..."
I have only started listening to this and I am already hooked and had to let you know. The reader is excellent.
"International love story across Nigeria and America"
Liked the discussion of race and culture & the main love story was interesting and compelling
In the end it left me with more questions what are they to makeover their lives. Been Nigerian knowing that consequences could come from this decision live more to worry about for them.
"a must read"
Not only a powerful book but so thought provoking and beautiful. I would recommend this book to anyone.
"Really amazing book. Beautifully read."
Warm, Funny, Thought provoking
The main character
Not yet, but nearly finished Purple Hibiscus
No - its all good
Rich and vibrant. A gripping tale of love and identity and the movement of a person between two cultures. The narrator nailed it too - a great performance.
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