Saturday, February 21, 2015

Americanah: A very short review

I happened to be taking several cross-country plane trips recently, and I brought along Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah.

It was a perfect book for reading in wild intense bursts while confined to a too-small seat for too many hours.

Adichie writes superbly: reading her book is both effortless and enthralling. Events feel real and immediate; the characters seem as though they are speaking directly to you. Americanah gives you that wonderful sense that somehow you are sitting on the shoulder of the protagonist, like Jiminy Cricket to Pinocchio, seeing, hearing, touching, even thinking everything right along with Our Hero.

Now, I should say: this is a book about what it's like to be a completely different person than I am. So while I really appreciated Adichie's sharing those emotions and experiences with me, I am (I hope) humble enough to understand that the pain and the sorrow and the trauma that she discusses will never be even the remotest part of my life. At times it makes me uncomfortable; perhaps she is aware of that; I don't think she means to cause that discomfort, at least not directly, but I suspect she would be satisfied to know that it does in fact result.

I wasn't even the slightest bit disappointed in Americanah. I hope it finds many readers; I hope she finds many readers; I hope she writes many more wonderful books.

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