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
"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)
I heard an author's interview on NPR about this book, and I immediately knew I wanted to read it. I downloaded the Audible version, and was delighted immediately by the narration by Adjoa Andoh. The book carried me into the romance of a young couple who are separated by circumstance and opportunity, and are later reunited by chance and perhaps the inevitability of returning "home". What made me love this book is the main character, Ifamelu, an academician, a romantic (at heart) but also a realist. While experiencing life in America, Ifamelu challenges what other Americans, and Black Americans especially think about "Black women" and "Africans" generally. I loved her fictional blog, Raceteenth, and I wish it were real frankly. Her biting and acid criticism of race and perceptions of race among minorities was thought provoking, funny, and at times stunning. The main character's romances, her sexuality, and her reflection on love and companionship weaved together with the academic side of Ifamelu in a way that had me laughing and crying, and ultimately sad the book had to come to an end. I would liken reading Americanah to reading one my of other favorite novels, "Face of an Angel," by Denise Chavez. The intimacy you feel with the characters is unmatched, and when a book has you blushing about things you rarely will acknowledge, much less articulate to another, you know you have something special. Finally, I can't emphasize what a great narrator Andjoa Andoh is. About 80% of the books I listen to on Audible have boring or flat narrators, and so this narrator set Americanah on audio apart. The narrator took time to change her tone of voice, add inflection to separate the "sound" of characters male and female, American and non-American accented English, and to create a world of many different characters. I loved it, and I hope you will too. I look forward to more from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Face of Angel by Denise Chavez. This novel and Americanah have a lot of depth, and elve into intimacies that are sometimes uncomfortable, but necessary to understand the whole person.
She adjusted her voice to embody each character, and that was my favorite thing. She brought the characters to life, and her inflection carried the passion that I felt between the lovers in the story.
A yearning for home, an adventure apart
The narrator brought alive the Americanah experience in a direct way that the written page would not have. She literally gave voice to the characters that enriched the narrative for me.
And it's so much more than a love story. Very intelligent, lyrical and insightful book about race relations and personal relations both within and without the United States. The Narrator was simply outstanding! Highly recommended.
reader, teacher, writer=happy person
The high points of this book are worth the intermittent sections of long internal narrative. I found myself sitting in my car, holding my breath for most of the last chapter. So many emotions aroused by this book-I have to think before I review. I read it because I liked One Half Of a Yellow Sun, and because I want to evaluate the book for my AP Lit class. I don't know if I will read it with a class (would have been perfect for the now defunct world lit), but I do know that I just read a novel by a writer I will be reading for a long time. True love described with an accuracy that made my teeth hurt. Sweet and aromatic
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
This was a beautifully written book, and I enjoyed the story. The author’s keen insights into issues of immigration and race and what it means to be black in America AND in Africa were really interesting. It was particularly interesting to read about Nigeria from the viewpoint of some very well educated people. The main problem I had with the book is that it was too didactic. The author was critical of whites, critical of blacks - Nigerians, and Americans. That’s ok, and a lot of it was interesting, BUT it just went on too long. All of the preaching bogged the book down. Much of it could have been edited out, and the powerful main points would still have had as much or more impact.
I highly recommend as a visual but not an audio read. The narrator does a fine job when the story is in the 3rd person or when she is speaking as the protagonist, but all her male and other-female characters sound like pre-adolescent boys. After so many hours of cringing when the narrator "turned male", I downloaded the e-book to enjoy the remainder of the story.
I can't imagine anyone could do all these accents! The reader did the African voices well, but the Americans - especially the men - sounded like Munchkins. And no American would say "Mary Land" for Maryland. I found that distracting.
30 something mom of three. Reading is and has always been my favorite escape.
I'm actually sad this book is over. Her perceptions about race in American culture is spot on. There are so many different layers to this story! From the politics of immigration to a simple and beautiful love story. I will be reading the rest of her work.
This book is really good. There are times the book felt like several blog posts or essays on African migrant experiences. This was overshadowed, however, by the rich interactions between the characters. The narrator did an excellent job with the accents and it made me smile to hear the familiar rhythms of different African accents. Anyone who has ever migrated to another country can really relate to the experiences of the main characters. Excellent story!
This was a solid read which investigated race relations in America from the viewpoint of an African ex-pat living here and experiencing being categorized as "black" for the first time. The author takes us through her relationships with a white man who views racism as a thing of the past, a black man consumed with the inequities of being a black American, and the ups and downs of daily interactions with black and white people, alike. This novel is much more "Crash" than "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," as the protagonist takes an observational, at times humorous, perspective on what is still a very touchy and real issue in America. As a white woman, I found it gave me valuable insight on the experiences of my black peers as well as offering me opportunities to reflect on my own attitudes and behaviors towards race in America. I only downgraded my rating slightly, as I found the plot to drag at times and some horses felt over-beaten.
Ms. Andoh has the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. Her English and Nigerian accents were melodic and, while her American accents always sounded a bit stilted/southern, I could listen to her read the phone book and fall in love.
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