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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The narrator does Nigerian accents very well and her speaking voice when she's just narrating is beautiful. But she cannot do American accents, everybody speaks in a high-pitched, nasal, New York type accent. It makes all the American characters feel like the same type of person and it's distracting and not realistic. It takes away from the story. I would definitely recommend reading this book instead.
Beautiful narration; engaging, thought provoking story of a Nigerian woman, Ifemelo, from her childhood through her journey to and young adult life in America, to her return to Nigeria; her romantic relationships and one true love; her blog, i.e., thoughts on being a non-American black and being black in America and later on - Nigerian life, culture, society. Sorry for it to end, liked the ending . . .
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