Monday, 8 April 2013

The Americanah of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The long awaited Americana is ready to be published on 11th April. From all indications, it will be a best seller as the author of The Purple Hibiscus took five years to coin this his new born baby. It sounds sweet as that will not only be his first book on America but also his first of race. One of the features that probably do not lack in his writings, whether the book has a Nigerian setup or not is a long description of hairstyles. The reason is obvious as Chimamanda explains:
I am obsessed with hair!’,  ‘As you can see I have natural, negro hair, free from relaxers and things. My hair story started when I was a baby. My mother had boys and she desperately wanted a girl, a girl with hair. I came out with a lot of hair and she was thrilled. As I was growing up she would do things to my hair but what I loved the most was when she stretched it with a hot comb. I was terrified too, because when the comb touched your ear it was so painful, but I loved the idea that my hair would then be straight. So when I was three years old I already had the idea that straight hair was beautiful and my hair was ugly1.
This Nsukka brought up writer has made her way into the literary world just by self determination and consistency on what she believes in life. She explains that she was initially a medical student, then a pharmacy student before diving into literature, a world where she feels free to put into realities her imaginations.One of the questions that many young minds ask themselves about her works is where and how she has come to know all she writes? 36 years as she is, she has written many stories about incidences that happened even before her birth as if she was an witness. If one do not know the story of Nigeria, it is easy to think she is doing nothing extraordinary, but all those who know well the school curriculum of Nigeria understand well that the story of Biafran War is not learnt in the school. And so, she must have gotten that from a personal research.
Here is what is to be expected in the Americanah: 
It is “the story of Ifemelu, a young Nigerian who travels to America to study and stays there for 13 years before deciding to return to Lagos. The book is an atmospheric and vibrant love story – the love between Ifemelu and Obinze, the high-school sweetheart she leaves behind, the love between Ifemelu and her American boyfriend, the love she has for her young cousin Dike, whom she looks after in America, and the love of her homeland, Nigeria. It is also a novel about race and immigration and what it feels like to be black in America”2.

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