I love it when a story absorbs me so fully, that after a while I hear the narrators voice in my head, telling me what I am are experiencing, as if it was a story I’m being told. It recently happened to me when I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s Americanah.
The story is about two young people, Ifemelu and Obinze, who meet at school in their hometown Lagos in Nigeria and become lovers and life-partners untilIfemelu gets a scholarship for a College in the US and after a while all of a sudden breaks contact. When living in the US, she is suddenly confronted with being black (whereas before she simply was) and starts a blog “Observations of a Non-American Black in America”. It turns out a huge success. Obinze, meanwhile became a successful business man in Lagos, after having tried to build up a life in London, but got deported.
Over 13 years have passed when Ifemelu decides to move back to Lagos, where she will also meet Obinze again. – Which is wonderful, because all the dialogues between them are so beautiful. You get to enjoy their joy and kindness with each other. Americanah is a lovestory, is lifestories, a story about feeling out of place and belonging at the same time.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a brilliant writer and a great storyteller. She succeeds in talking about highly important and stirring topics, and disturbing observations and experiences in a very gentle way. Which doesn’t make them less poignant. She is never accusing, although there could be so much reason to do so, but sharing observations, that are opening one’s eyes and go right through to the heart.
Have a look at the TEDx talk by Chimamanda!