Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Genre: An unapologetic look at race and class in America, Nigeria and briefly in the UK through the eyes of African Immigrant on the backdrop of a love story.
Synopsis: Following the lives of lovebirds Ifemelu and Obinze as they are split up by circumstances. They experience different lives; with Ifemelu in the States and Obinze as an undocumented immigrant in the UK before returning to Nigeria. Ifemelu later decides to return to Nigeria as well, but can she face Obinze’s new life and start a new one for herself?
My thoughts: Wow! That’s all I should really say.
I should start with a little disclaimer that I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -even her name is beautiful, simply saying her name gets me all excited. But my personal bias should not take away from her talents because she is fiercely talented. The commentary on life abroad is honest, conscious and raw.
I felt so many different things as I read this, and I doubt I could even do it justice in trying to explain it. This is a novel that gets your mind spinning. She highlights important issues such as how blackness is perceived in across the global while narrating a compelling love story.
The details of their love story could make you jealous, without being jealous of their break up obviously. But the detail throughout the book, paint a rich and full story, with three-dimensional characters and beautiful cultural perspectives.
As an African living in a country, not of my citizenship, a lot of the events were quite relatable. Especially the little things, like travelling considerable distances to the cheap African saloon the where you meet people from all of the continent or the rolling power cuts that become a part of normal life.
Verdict: To be read as soon as possible, at any free moment.
Recommendation: Coconut by Kopano Matlwa is another novel with social commentary through the eyes of two different “Black on the outside, White on the inside” girls in South Africa. It also calls to mind the movie Dear White People.