Critical Assessment

“There are some novels that tell a great story and others that make you change the way you look at the world. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a book that manages to do both.

“It is ostensibly a love story – the tale of childhood sweethearts at school in Nigeria whose lives take different paths when they seek their fortunes in America and England – but it is also a brilliant dissection of modern attitudes to race, spanning three continents and touching on issues of identity, loss and loneliness.”

Elizabeth Day, “Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Review,” The Guardian, April 15, 2013.

First Excerpt

“Princeton, in the summer, smelled of nothing, and although Ifemelu liked the tranquil greenness of many trees, the clean streets and stately homes, the delicately overpriced shops, and the quiet, abiding air of earned grace, it was this, the lack of a smell, that most appealed to her, perhaps because the other American cities she knew well had all smelled distinctly. Philaldelphia had the musty scent of history. New Haven smelled of neglect. Baltimore smelled of brine, and Brooklyn of sun-warmed garbage. But Princeton had no smell. She liked taking deep breaths here.”

Second Excerpt

“Alexa and the other guests, and perhaps even Georgina, all understood the fleeing from war, from the kind of poverty that crushed human souls, but they would not understand the need to escape from the oppressive lethargy of choicelessness. They would not understand why people like him who were raised well fed and watered but mired in dissatisfaction, conditioned from birth to look towards somewhere else, eternally convinced that real lives happened in that somewhere else, were now resolved to do dangerous things, illegal things, so as to leave, none of them starving, or raped, or from burned villages, but merely hungry for for choice and certainty.”