Friday, March 27, 2015

We Have Finished Reading "Americanah"

Today, in my Post-colonial Literature class, we finished discussing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah. I have always told my students that though we say we have finished reading a work of literature, we are deceiving ourselves. If we read such a work again, we discover how much we missed the first time around. We discover new ways of seeing aspects of the text. The process is virtually endless.

It has taken us many days to go through this novel, but that is what I wanted. I believe we have to accord literature the honour it deserves as an expression of the human condition.

As a result of taking our time on it, we have gained a good understanding of the lives of the characters in Americanah, such as Ifemelu, Obinze, Aunty Uju, Blaine, and Dike. We have gained an understanding of their experiences at home and abroad, and their relationships.

Adichie's exploration of themes such as the lives of Africans in the USA, race and racism, cultural differences, and the contemporary Nigerian middle class, sparkles with insight and sensitivity. She portrays human beings, not stereotypes.

Adichie is a gifted storyteller; she enchants the reader with her mind-boggling narrative skill and truthful dialogue. Rarely have I read a long novel such as Americanah with such joy and eagerness, from the beginning to the very end.

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