Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
Beautiful, deft prose. Tragic romance (my favorite kind; not in the classical sense), but a more thoughtful than emotional read, because Adichie so assiduously avoids melodrama, so readily moves us to the next scene. The blog posts occasionally felt heavy-handed, though the meditations on race therein were necessary and provocative. Set partly in Baltimore and at Yale–Adichie is a fellow JHU MFA alum!–so I was reading about the two homes of my adult life. Fully, richly rendered, immensely accomplished. Highly recommended.
A master class in:
Chapter 22! Chapter 22! Precise charting of close indirect emotional reactions; use of setting for pacing; surprising yet believable dialogue.
“In London, night came too soon, it hung in the morning air like a threat.”
“He thought again of the Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi woman and the shadow of grief from which she was only just emerging, and he thought of…the life he now had, lacquered as it was by work and reading, by panic and hope. He had never felt so lonely.”
“I don’t want to be a sweetheart. I want to be the fucking love of your life.” (See: Chapter 22! Surprising yet believable dialogue.)