Literary travel: Americanah

You can’t talk about international travel without talking about immigration.

Yes, they are related.

So what is immigration? Immigration has been happening way back when. It happened when nomadic people decided to leave a place and settle somewhere else that promised a better life. Ain’t nothing wrong with trying to improve your lot. Just do it the legal way, if you can afford it. If you can’t, sucks to be you, says the world.

Lately, immigration has been causing a lot of chatter, especially among people who think that their country belongs to them, not to God or anyone else. Little do they know that “country” and “nation” are artificial constructs designed to keep certain people out and let certain people in.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in Nigeria as well as the US and the UK. It grapples with the ugly issues surrounding the migration of black people from the “Third World” to  the “First World” as well as the reintegration of folks who’ve been abroad back into their “home countries.” Issues like interracial relationships, racial stereotyping, diversity, ideas of homeland, you get the picture. I could hardly put down because it was so quote-alicious. With that said, here are some of my favorites from Americanah.

Americanah 3

“But of course it makes sense because we are Third Worlders and Third Worlders are forward-looking, we like things to be new, because our best is still ahead, while in the West their best is already past and so they have to make a fetish of that past. Remember this is our newly middle-class world. We haven’t completed the first cycle of prosperity, before going back to the beginning again, to drink milk from the cow’s udder.”

Adichie

“Alexa, and the other guests, and perhaps even Georgina, all understood the fleeing from war, from the kind of poverty that crushed human souls, but they would not understand the need to escape from the oppressive lethargy of choicelessness. 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 now 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.” 

Adichie

Have you ever read Americanah? What did you think of it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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