Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won me over with her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. The novel, listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a recount of the Biafran War in her native Nigeria. This experience made me look forward to her other works and two years later, I did, with her most popular work, Americanah. Published in 2015, Americanah is the story of Ifemelu and Obinze. What I liked about Americanah is that it exhibited a different side of Adichie’s writing. Through her latest novel, Adichie also regaled her readers with her subtle but thought-provoking exploration of race and identity in modern USA. It is certainly one of the best reads I ever had. Here are some of the interesting quotes from this amazing book.
Do check out my complete review of this tantalizing work of fiction by clicking here.
“So if you’re going to write about race, you have to make sure it’s so lyrical and subtle that the reader who doesn’t read between the lines won’t even know it’s about race.~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“It didn’t matter to him how much money I had. As far as he was concerned I did not fit as the owner of that stately house because of the way I looked. In America’s public discourse, “Blacks” as a whole are often lumped iwth “Poor Whites.” Not Poor Blacks and Poor Whites. But Blacks and Poor Whites. A curious thing indeed.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“They tell us race is an invention, that there is no genetic variation between two black people than there is between a black person and a white person. Then they tell us black people have a worse kind of breast cancer and get more fibroid. And white folk get cystic fibrosis and osteoporosis. So what’s the deal, is race an invention or not?”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“The biggest problem in this country is not corruption. The problem is that there are many qualified people who are nt where they are supposed to be because they won’t lick anybody’s ass, or they don’t know which ass to lick or they don’t even know how to lick an ass.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. it’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“Each memory stunned her with its blinding luminosity. Each brought with it a sense of unassailable loss, a great burden hurtling towards her, and she wished she could duck, lower herself so that it would bypass her, so that she would save herself. Love was a kind of grief. This was what the novelists meant by suffering. She had often thought it a little silly, the idea of suffering for love, but now she understood.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“The point of diversity workshops, or multicultural talks, was not to inspire any real change but to leave people feeling good about themselves. They did not want the content of her ideas; they merely wanted the gesture of her presence They had not read her blog but they had heard that she was a “leading blogger” about race.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“People often told him how humble he was, but they did not mean real humility, it was merely that he did not flaunt his membership in the wealthy club, did not exercise the rights it brought – to be rude, to be inconsiderate, to be greeted rather than to greet – and because so many others like him exercised those rights, his choices were interpreted as humility.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“Besides, humility had always seemed to him a specious thing, invented for the comfort of others; you are praised for humility by people because you did not make them feel any more lacking than they already did. It was honesty that he valued; he had always wished himself to be truly honest, and always feared that he may not.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“If you’re telling a non-black person about something racist that happened to you, make sure you are not bitter. Don’t complain. Be forgiving. If possible, make it funny. Most of all, do not be angry. Black people are not supposed to be angry about racism. Otherwise you get no sympathy. This applies only for white liberals, by the way. Don’t even bother telling a white conservative about anything racist that happened to you. Because the conservative will tell you that YOU are the real racist and your mouth will hang open in confusion.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“But she had not a bold epiphany and there was no cause; it was simply that layer after layer of discontent had settled in her, and formed a mass that now propelled her. She did not tell him this, because it would hurt him to know she had felt that way for a while, that her relationship with him was like being content in a house but always sitting by the window and looking out.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“He was already looing at their relationship through the lens of the past tense. It puzzled her, the ability of romantic love to mutate, how quickly a loved one could become a stranger. Where did the love go? Perhaps real love was familial, somehow linked to blood, since love for children did not die as romantic love did.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“We are very ideological about fiction in this country. If a character is not familiar, then that character becomes unbelievable. You can’t even read American fiction to get a sense of how actual life is lived these days. You read American fiction to learn about dysfunctional white folk doing things that are weird to normal white folks.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
“They would not understand why people like him, who were raised well fed and watered but mired in dissatisfaction, conditioned from birth to look towards somewhere else, eternally convinced that real lives happened in that somewhere else, were not resolved to do dangerous things, illegal things, so as to leave, none of them starving, or raped, or from burned villages, but merely hungry for choice and certainty.”~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Hello Carl. On the subject of race, I think that if you annoy some people they will insult you any way they can; they just pick on whatever is different about you – it could be anything. So that a lot of racial insults are not really racist at all – just handy to have something to hang the insult on.
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