I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is just as obvious to everyone else.
This is not the case.
So in that vein, I am going to assume that not all you, who will be reading this post really deeps how great of a writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is!
It is very rare that I look up to people I have never met, but she and of course Beyonce along with Michelle Obama are my exceptions 🙂
She is not only Nigerian (which makes me love her even more) but she is the only writer that I have read all the books of.
Because she is brilliant, at not only how she writes but what she writes about! She gave me my first ever insight into Nigeria, and although this is very hard for me to admit, it wasn’t until I read her books that my desire to know my homeland grew greater and greater.
Adichie’s novels and stories, for those who have yet to discover them, strike a delicate balance. Yes, they deal with pressing political issues of gender and race. But they are voluptuous, deliciously readable too, yet charming, funny and smart. And they are part of a wave of remarkable writing from the African continent.
I think the voices of the African diaspora are important, but I think there’s often a silence in our voices from the continent – so when my best friend introduced me to Adichie’s writing all those years back, she changed my life, truly!
Usually, I don’t read novels because I don’t feel I learn from them as much as I would say if I read a fictional book. But with Chimamanda, her novels have an empathetic quality or emotional truth that I can’t help but relate to.
So this month’s Lycheereads is dedicated to some of my favourite stories from Chimamanda.
In no particular order let’s start with Half A Yellow Sun.
Half of a Yellow Sun is a novel (talk about stating the obvious), but for me it’s also a deeply felt statement about who we are as not only people but as Nigerians. I think this is a novel about belonging, about what it is to belong, in all different ways. I had initially bought this book for my husband when we first started dating, he loved it and encouraged me to read it which I did. I loved it and I ended up giving away my copy so that someone else could read it, because, really, everyone should.
Having read this book I then went back to read Purple Hibiscus. What I loved about Purple Hibiscus is the coming-of-age aspect of it. It is extremely engaging and not only is it a good laugh, but you get to travel along the journey of life with Kambili and explore her as she grows and becomes more of an extrovert. I would highly recommend Purple Hibiscus as a read.
Then years went by and I forgot why I loved reading so much and my book consumption drops precipitously until I come across a book that jolts me out of my funk; Americanah was one of those. It’s so immensely, transparently brilliant that I wanted to underline every other line.
Without saying too much, the plot revolves around Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who comes to study in America and eventually writes a popular blog on race in America from the point-of-view of a non-American black person. She eventually decides to return home to Nigeria and must adjust to life back in Africa, surrounded by her old friends and ex-boyfriend, Obinze.
Of course, it is gorgeously written as you would expect from Adichie and I was so sad when I finished reading it – I wish it was longer. I recommended this book to all my girlfriends and bought three further copies so I could gift it to fellow females I knew would love a story like this. This book hands down is one of my favourite books of all time.
But of course it would be rude of me not to mention Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book, We Should All Be Feminists, which was adapted from her 2012 TED Talk. It encourages everyone to take up the cause of equality for women, and people are taking notice. Even Beyonce took notice and featured some of her writing in her track ‘Flawless‘
Here’s to Chimamanda – I am patiently waiting for the new book 🙂
Happy belated birthday.
Let me know what you think of this post below and if this is something you want me to continue to do going forwards.
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