Americanah

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

americanah

(Image sourced from amazon via google images)

As one who takes sleeping pretty seriously I have a bone to pick with the author of this particular page turner.

Really? Oh yes…I’m very much an eight to nine hour sleeper and disturbingly I found myself a little sleep deprived on the evenings of the 8th and 9th of this month. And trust me I know the tricks, you put down the book, you stop reading at the end of the chapter, you close your eyes, however I was truly disarmed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s fourth literary pleasure (actually I should have known better for I’ve experienced her previous three – so why the shock…)

So, the focus on this novel is very much Ifemelu – a likeable, bold, honest and doesn’t give a rats what you think Nigerian girl, teenager, then woman, as she goes through the process of growing, learning, living and loving. With this, her appeal is far ranging. She is insightful, complex, curious and courageous.

Through this fabulous female protagonist, the story explores so many important and fundamental issues, not the least being race (or at least its perception) in a predominantly white nation like the United States of America, by one who never saw themselves as ‘Black’ back home. Furthermore, it looks at emigration (and some beastly struggles which can go with it) and identity.

The novel also examines relationships. Like the ones you have with relatives, friends and lovers. Even the kind you have with people who take advantage of you, the ones you have for experimental purposes and oh – those ones you didn’t mean to have.

Additionally, the book is well structured and I felt I was learning the whole way through. Specifically, as the action occurs globally and in many places I’ve never been and in societies that I’m not, and never will be, party to. (or is it too?)

Lastly, I can’t leave this brief review without mentioning Obinze – for I can’t remember the last time I came across such a thoughtful, sensitive, compassionate and attractive man (in literature obviously). He is honourable and perfect without being ‘too good’ or making you wish you could escape his company. In a funny way – he gave security to the story.

bye

 

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By Bruce Pascoe

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(Image sourced …arts.gov.au – via google images)

Not a frequent reader of Young Adult Fiction, I found myself initially unsure about this one. However thankfully good sense prevailed and I can honestly relay here ‘It’s a darn good read’ and you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy it.

I’ll fess-up now. Although I’m Australian and have been all my life, I’d never come across Bruce Pascoe in our reading scheme, so intend now to make up for my ignorance and spread his good name. For this small (111 pages in all, big type) novel, published 2012, will immediately whisk you off into the Victorian Bush and you’ll be the better for it.

The wildness and wilderness is exquisitely detailed and the relationships between man and man and man and animal are so beautifully explored.

Furthermore, there is a wonderful scene where Albert and Crazy Dave share a very light on conversation, although deep on understanding and companionship mug of tea. Or another memorable example, earlier on in the tale, when Brim (a devoted half dingo four legged friend) is feeding her own pups and displays such faithfulness to her master that she accepts the parenting role, without question, of three recently orphaned fox cubs.

The sounds of the bush, the instincts of both man (plus animal) and the weaving of Maria’s story (a terminally ill pre-teen) don’t just add to the quality of the tale, they enhance the telling.

So if you find yourself with about one and half hours and you feel like getting lost in the raw, rough and wise Australian Bush, go find a copy of this moving and highly recommended tale and acquaint yourself with Albert Cutts, the tree feller.