Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won the US National Critics Book Prize for her novel Americanah. The writer’s work tells the story of a Nigerian woman who moves to the US to pursue a college education.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the author said her book drew on her own experiences as an African living in the US, particularly with African Americans.
“I don’t know race in the way an African American knows race… Sometimes it takes an outsider to see something about your own reality that you don’t,” she said.
Synopsis of Americanah:
A story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.
Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.