Come and chat to Orange Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about her new novel, AMERICANAH, on Tues 29 April, 9-10pm

(120 Posts)

April’s choice is a powerhouse of a book that informs and entertains in equal measure. AMERICANAH is the third novel from Orange-Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who tackles the enormous subject of race with such vitality, intelligence and general chutzpah that you speed through the pages enchanted. AMERICANAH is first and foremost an epic love story spanning three continents: Nigerian teenagers Ifemelu and Obinze grow up together and fall in love, but are drawn apart when Ifemelu moves to study in the US and Obinze tries his luck in the UK, before returning to be a wealthy Lagos businessman.

Alternating between Ifemelu’s struggles with American ideas of race, and Obinze’s foray into being an illegal immigrant, the novel covers the next thirteen years before they finally meet again (in a 21st century, globalized, democratic Nigeria), and find out if they can regain what was lost. Along the way are many relationships, jobs, mistakes and triumphs, misunderstandings and epiphanies. And hairstyles: as Ifemelu experiments with straightened/Afro/cornrowed hair, her story moves through an identity crisis, into an activist phase and finally an acceptance of her roots, all of which is told with humour and acutely observant detail.

This is a book to make you think deeply, to see a subject in the round in all it's complexity and paradox, to hear things spoken out loud that are so often fudged over. Adichie’s ideas are fresh and bold, her writing always personal and perceptive: she is equally marvellous covering Nigerian politics as she is writing day-to-day dialogue. This is a very funny, very warm, rollicking, authentic, absolutely astonishing book. Don’t miss it – it might easily be your best book of the year.

Chimamanda's TED talk, ‘The Danger of the Single Story’ has been viewed 6.5 million times. You can view it here.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. Her first novel 'Purple Hibiscus' was published in 2003 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her second novel 'Half of a Yellow Sun' won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards, and in 2010 she appeared on the New Yorker's list of the best 20 writers under 40.

Fourth Estate have 50 free copies to give to Mumsnetters – to claim yours please fill in your details here. We’ll post on the thread when all the copies have gone. If you’re not lucky enough to bag one of the free books, you can always get your paperback or Kindle version here.

We are delighted that Chimamanda will be joining us to discuss Americanah, her writing life and all her previous books on Tuesday 29 April, 9-10pm. So please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month, pop up any advance questions and we will see you all here, Tue 29 April.

yUMMYmUMMYb Sat 22-Mar-14 21:40:36

Marking place. Just about to start this book.

funkky Tue 25-Mar-14 17:35:44

Marking my place!

funkky Tue 25-Mar-14 17:36:06

.

sparkysparkysparky Mon 31-Mar-14 17:08:57

Hi I enjoyed the book but .. At first the characters were almost Jane Austen like in the way they revealed themse through what they said. However it turned into a 19 century Russian novel once it moved to theUS. Every conversation imbued with significance and analysis. That said I loved what the "hair" passages taught me about Ifemelu's experience. Question for Chimamanda : Did Ifemelu love or even like anybody in this novel? I don't think she did

Mitchy1nge Wed 02-Apr-14 13:52:00

am so looking forward to my FREE copy smile

LCHammer Wed 02-Apr-14 13:56:15

Fantastic book. I'll jot the date in my diary.

becky814 Wed 02-Apr-14 20:52:39

Just waiting for my free copy.

becky814 Fri 04-Apr-14 14:00:24

Book arrived. Can't wait to start it. Wait for the children to go to bed first.

LCHammer Fri 04-Apr-14 15:34:55

Have a lovely weekend, Becky smile

hackmum Fri 04-Apr-14 18:06:42

Really enjoyed this book.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 04-Apr-14 22:33:09

Great to hear the books have arrived. I LOVE this book - enjoy!

alialiath Tue 08-Apr-14 17:30:59

Thoroughly enjoying the book so far. Will post a review when I've finished reading the book.

I have read both purple hibiscus and Americanah but liked the second much better. I did get confused though with Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. All three excellent books.

Belo Wed 09-Apr-14 13:45:20

My book arrived last week. I really enjoyed Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun so I was very pleased to receive it. Thank you.

3 chapters in and I'm already hooked and wanting to know how Ifemelu's story will develop.

gailforce1 Fri 11-Apr-14 13:39:20

Thank you for my copy. Looking forward to starting after the positive comments above.

alialiath Sun 13-Apr-14 22:30:01

Will be finished reading the book in the next couple of days. I will be passing the book to my friend who was born in Nigeria, but of a completely different mindset to Ifemelu. I will be interesting to hear her views on Ifemelu's experiences in America, as I think if she'd come to the UK her experiences would have be completely different

Thanks to Mumsnet for introducing me to fabulous book I
doubt I'd have ever read

sherazade Thu 17-Apr-14 07:59:37

Thanks for my free copy. Really enjoying this and will post questions soon. It's quite 'heavy' - feel as though I should be highlighting things as I read so I can reflect later !

Uzma01 Thu 17-Apr-14 22:04:22

I've read the other two books and found them written in an engaging style - written from different perspectives and flitting back/forth in time takes a bit of getting used to but is well worth persevering with. So Americanah hasn't disappointed; the subjects of race and immigration have some resonance with me as a someone from a second-generation immigrant family though in the UK.

I've still got to finish reading it - but really want to see how things work out for Ifemelu.

Thrilled that Americanah short listed for the Baileys (formerly Orange) Prize AND won the US National Book Critics Award.

It's time to start gathering advance questions for Chimamanda, so please pop yours up here and we'll send them on at the end of the week.

Don't forget that your questions can be about any of her books, so if you've not yet finished Americanah then feel free to ask about anything you like...

Looking forward to next Tuesday, see you all there...

sweetkat32 Thu 24-Apr-14 12:53:26

I'm about halfway through the book and I have found it such a wonderful learning experience, and really opened my eyes! Thankyou for such a brilliant novel.
My question for Chimamanda do you think people will ever be able to accept each other for who we are or will race always come into it?
Thankyou again for my copy of the book!

Stanislas Thu 24-Apr-14 16:42:57

Thank you for the book. I haven't started reading it yet but I'm looking forward to it. I read a profile of you in the Sunday Times. This may be frivolous but you said you loved Boots the Chemist when you came to London. What is so special for you there?

Lenniepennie Thu 24-Apr-14 22:50:58

I'm intrigued by this title bit haven't read your other two books yet blush. If I wanted to read them all, is there a order you would recommend?

AliMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-Apr-14 14:40:13

Hi Chimamanda,
I really enjoyed this book and found Ifelmulu to be a very well rounded protaganist, flaws and all. Did you spend time in all the countries featured in the book when writing to create such authentic dialogue and description or was it from memory and/or imagination?

JonathanBii Fri 25-Apr-14 20:59:42

First of all,congratulations Chimamanda for writing a 600 paged book that was sooo captivating i finished it in less than 24 hours( i skipped a meal i think :-)). My questions are;
- Is there a second part edition to this masterpiece? --What happens to Kosi and Buchi?
-Why do we always have to wait for so long before we get another dose of your genius?
-All your books adress pretty deep themes,what draws you to talk about them i.e where do you find the inspiration because they are topics that havent been fully addressed?
-How long before your next book?
Please do not get mad. I just finished reading all her books.

vanbandi Fri 25-Apr-14 21:30:02

Thank you for my free copy. I have started and I enjoy it. I am an immigrant as well however from Europe I can recognize Ifemelu's feelings.
Yesterday I gave up my seat to an elderly lady on the tube and she said: 'oh thank you my love I am reading the same book smile'

Uzma01 Fri 25-Apr-14 21:43:59

My questions to Chimamanda:

Which of her characters does she most identify with, from Americanah or any of her other books?

Also, what does she draw on for inspiration - her own experience, that of people she knows or has spoken to; or something else entirely?

Thank you so much for a copy of the book; have loved reading it - also really enjoyed Chimamanda's other books.

juneau Sat 26-Apr-14 08:58:37

I enjoyed this book immensely and was fairly sure I would, having previously read 'Half of a Yellow Sun' and loved it.

In both of these books I particularly appreciated the incredible sense of place. I've lived in the USA as a foreigner and a British English speaker and I found myself nodding and laughing at the observations made about the two different versions of the language and the common misunderstandings that arise. Having lived there for six years myself I could tell that Chimamanda has also spent some serious time in the country, otherwise she couldn't have written such a rich, descriptive narrative. The shortening of names, for instance, and the refusal to properly acknowledge a name that is not familiar, was something that I'd noticed too.

I was also very interested by the race angle of the book. As a white British person I blunder through life largely unaware of the experiences of people of colour around me. The essential differences between the heritage of a black American and a black African and how this informs their way of seeing the world were things I had not dwelt upon, so I found this very interesting and informative - thank you for opening my eyes.

Question for Chimamanda: how long do you spend researching and writing each of your books? You're not an author who churns out a book a year, instead you present us with one beautifully formed gem every few years, so are you working on the next book all that time or do you go off and do other things? The richness of your characters suggests that you spend a long time bringing them to life - but maybe it would just take ME a long time and for you it's a much faster process!

solosolong Sat 26-Apr-14 10:59:40

I haven't read Americanah but loved the previous two novels. I would be interested to know what Chimamanda thinks about the current situation in Nigeria. Does she think that there is any hope of the religious tensions easing; is this something which affects her life there? Thanks

dragonfly63 Sat 26-Apr-14 14:43:12

Congratulations that Americanah has been short listed for the Baileys Prize andwon the US National Book Critics Award, it is well deserved.

I used to live in Birmingham which is multi-racial, the school that my son attended had children from 56 different countries. Despite being heavily involved with that school and with the parents your book has taught me so much about what people who are different have to face. Have you sufferedfrom racism and if so how did you overcome it (apart from writing this wonderful book of course)?

Belo Mon 28-Apr-14 09:29:22

Hi Chimamanda,

I've almost finished the book and am hoping to do so before tomorrow night (but at the same time, I've been delaying reaching the end as I'm enjoying it so much! I find Ifemelu totally believable as a character and the sort of woman who I can relate to).

Anyway, in case I don't make the webchat, I've one question I would like to ask. Throughout the book you talk about race in terms of colour of skin and the experiences of black people. Ifemelu says she didn't realise she was black until she moved to America. Within Nigeria is there an equivalent of racism? Maybe people are not discriminated against by the colour of their skin, but aren't there discriminations against different ethnic groupings? E.g the Igbos? Maybe this is a simplistic question but it is something that interests me as my family are white immigrants to this country. Also, your book 'Half of a Yellow Sun' and the horrors it tells of the Biafran war has stayed with me. I would love to think that the ethnic tensions died at the end of the conflict, but realistically I think that cannot be so?

skwerlene Mon 28-Apr-14 19:08:44

Hello Chimamanda, the book was excellent, thanks for writing it. And thanks to Mumsnet for free copy.

My question: Did you base most of your characters on particular people that you knew or are most characters an amalgamation of many people (imagined or not)? Although Shan was a minor character, she has really stuck in my head.

Also, I am originally from the US and could identify with the whole "not mentioning race" scenario. Am thinking about the scene in the shop where the manager was trying to determine if the white or black assistant was helping Ifemelu's friend. It's much more the "white one" or the "black one" in the UK, which is now normal to me. But sometimes when I go back to the US, I forget. And then I get a lot of funny looks.

emylou1982 Mon 28-Apr-14 21:54:41

Thanks for my free copy of Americanah which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. I thought it was well written and researched. I would like to ask Chimamanda what sparked the idea for this novel and what book she is currently working on that we can look forward to.

Peanuts79 Tue 29-Apr-14 08:20:38

I loved this book and find the commentary on how race, religion and social standing can divide a community. I was wondering if your characters are portrayed as trying to each overcome one of these in the hope the others would then pale into insignificance in comparison?

LottyLikesWindows Tue 29-Apr-14 09:39:22

Hi Chimamanda. I'm half way through the highly addictive and engaging 'Americanah' - big congratulations on being short listed for the BP and winning the critics' choice award. I am savouring the book and am really not looking forward to finishing it as I know I'll get the end of Adichie novel blues! I really love your characterisation in this novel, especially the relationship between Curt and Ife. The bits about his selective views and takes on racism really stood out for me.

Last year I taught 'Purple Hibiscus' to my A level students in an inner city London college. Many of my students are Nigerian and it was brilliant to hear their responses to your writing. What I really cherished is how much they owned the narrative and how proud they were that we were studying a book written about Nigeria and about certain things that they could relate to on a personal as well as cultural level. It was even more so poignant because this took place in a Catholic college and the links with religion were not lost on anyone, except for me at times (an atheist teaching in a faith school...) In a wonderful way, your novel brought me closer to my students.

So my questions to you are these: violence as a theme really stands out for me in your writing, sometimes it's there - lucid and present, sometimes it appears as a sinister hint, a possible threat. What importance do you place on portraying violence in your novels and why and what are your thoughts on how violence is still perpetrated and dealt with in today's society - especially violence towards women as well as violence within family unit? Finally having lived in the USA as well as Nigeria - do you find that attitudes towards this issue are much different?

Apologies if this post reads like a garbled mess - I'm trying to feed my baby at the same time! I'm not feeling particularly articulate at the moment so I do hope this post makes sense...

Thanks to all for their advance q's, looking forward to hearing Chimamanda's answers tonight... See you 9 pm..

ZuluinJozi Tue 29-Apr-14 10:54:39

Hi Chimamanda

I loved Americanah
Do you think Ifemelu and Blaine had feelings for one another, or that they were just what each needed at the time?

sherazade Tue 29-Apr-14 12:40:10

This book read more like a lesson than a story; I felt like one of Ifemelu's earnest blog followers being reprimanded for being inadvertently prejudiced, for being complicit for not having struggled as a black person in a white world- but what is one to do? 'racism should never have happened and you don't get a cookie for making it stop'. The book unpicked my own guilt as a non black in a predominantly non black western world, or in a society where power lies in favour of non blacks. Possibly the most relentless book about racism I have ever read because there is no salvation or redemption for its characters. Ifemelu is never content and she sneers at everyone and everything, not excusing herself even. I don't know if I was in awe of her or felt repelled (or tired even) by her relentlessness. I liked how all the different threads were inter weaved: the elections, her hair, her relationships. The comparisons between Europe and America were interesting, but was not the narrative then guilty of generalising; just as the many many references to 'Africa' as if it were one country were flawed?

Esperanzadetriana Tue 29-Apr-14 13:00:28

I'm hoping to join the webchat this eve but incase I don't make it I just wanted to say thank you to mumsnet for giving me the chance to read the book and to Chimamanda for such an amazing book. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it and have since bought both your previous two books (am currently halfway through Half of a Yellow Sun). I really love the detailed descriptions of daily life in both books (particlularly love the hairdresser scenes in Americanah and the kitchen/food preparation scenes in Half of a Yellow sun).

I have learned SO much from reading your books - and in Americanah particularly it gives an astonishing insight into life as an african in america. I wonder if you live in America now and my question - do you think things have changed for black people living in america since Obama has become president?

SandyMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-Apr-14 13:05:26

Hi there Chimamanda,
Your book it fantastic, such a delicious read. It's a peek into a world that is fascinating and painful, but rich and humbling.
And so interesting about hair! Could you tell us a bit more about the whole hair hierarchy? How about writing a book just about that?
Thanks

rlouisa Tue 29-Apr-14 18:21:57

plssssss those that got a free copy, post to me after reading...will post it bk

Suedonim Tue 29-Apr-14 18:44:48

Chimamanda, I haven't had a chance to read Americanah yet, although it waiting for me to pick it up when I have the time. I loved your previous two novels, both of which I read while I was living in Nigeria for five years. It's an endlessly fascinating country that turns one's assumptions on their heads sometimes!

How hopeful are you that Nigeria's current troubles can be overcome, tapping into its immense wealth and the potential of its population to improve life for all citizens? How much time do you spend in Nigeria now and do you find it a culture shock going between two such different countries?

If I may ask another question, which other contemporary Nigerian authors do you admire?

Many thanks for reading this.

MarmaladeAtkins51 Tue 29-Apr-14 19:53:14

Hi Chimamanda, I have read and enjoyed and been moved and challenged by all of your books. I absolutely loved Americanah. There is so much I could ask but I’ll post 4 questions and let you choose which to answer.

1. Can Ifemelu really be happy with Obinze? Her abandonment put him through hell and yet he’s ready to leave his wife and daughter for her? She seems like a restless, discontented person who will ultimately tire of his simple and unconditional love.

2, After reclaiming her African accent Ifemelu goes on a quest for authenticity. This includes growing out her relaxed hair. “Relaxing your hair is like being in a prison. You’re caged.” She writes. Much of her blog conflates self-acceptance for black women with natural hair. However, it doesn’t allow for the women whose hair relaxation isn’t about conforming but about self-expression or practicality (with straight hair you can literally wash and go). Does she (and black women) have to move away from the politics of hair? After all what is natural? Long synthetic hair braided into your own short afro? Natural hair worn under a weave? Using a hot iron? Where do we draw the line?

Shouldn’t hair be about the attitude of the person and not a rod black women use to judge and beat each other?

3. The release of Half of a Yellow Sun has been delayed by censors in Nigeria. Is it too soon for a national dialogue about the Biafran way?

4. Is it problematic – in terms of telling authentic African stories – that while there are so many incredible Nigerian writers, the absence of a structured publishing industry in Nigeria means they are all published by foreign publishers?

SuburbanCrofter Tue 29-Apr-14 20:08:28

Hi Chimamanda

I love your books and I think you have lovely hair (sorry is that too shallow and inappropriate??)

My question is, how did you manage to write the rape scene in Half a Yellow Sun? Was it a harrowing experience, and did you ever consider just not including it?

SuburbanCrofter Tue 29-Apr-14 20:12:37

Sorry have just read previous posts and realise there is an important political discussion taking place about hair - I just thought yours looked nice in the author pictures I have seen of you!

Slinks off in shame at lack of political awareness

theshooglypeg Tue 29-Apr-14 20:15:20

Hi, I was lucky enough to win one of the copies of your book. I just wanted to say I am enjoying it so far and interested to see where it goes - I am avoiding reading this thread at the moment because I don't want to come across spoilers!

frogletsmum Tue 29-Apr-14 20:23:47

Hi Chimamanda,

I have just finished reading Americanah which I absolutely loved in so many ways. Many thanks to Mumsnet for my copy and I shall be looking out for your other books.

I've got two questions: the first is about the relationship between themes and characters in your books, and which comes first? Do you decide to write about a particular subject and then develop the characters in the story, or do the characters and their personal stories come to you independently?

Secondly, it was clearly great timing that the first black president of America should be elected during Ifemelu's time there, and I really enjoyed those scenes - the sense of almost impossible hopefulness turning into triumph. I wondered what impact you feel Obama's presidency has had on race issues, and is this something you might address in another book?

Congratulations on being shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, and thank you for a really wonderful read!

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 20:29:20

Testing

totesMum Tue 29-Apr-14 20:44:03

Haven't joined a live web chat before. Am I in the right place?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-Apr-14 20:48:59

totesMum

Haven't joined a live web chat before. Am I in the right place?

Yes ! Welcome. We'll introduce Chimamanda at 9pm and she will be answering questions over the hour between 9 and 10pm. Do join us.

totesMum Tue 29-Apr-14 20:56:24

Thanks!

Evening everyone

I'm over the moon to welcome Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie here tonight, who wrote her first, Orange Prize shortlisted novel Purple Hibiscus in 2003, went on to win the 2007 Orange Prize with Half of a Yellow Sun, and is currently shortlisted for the (now Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction) prize for her third book, Americanah. All three are astonishing, the kind of books that turn you into a hermit and make you want to stop all the clocks.

Chimamanda, thank you very much indeed once again for taking the time to be here tonight. And congratulations on all your success - and on a succession of wonderful, life-enhancing books. We'll kick off with the advance questions from further up the thread. And then we'll aim to get through as many as possible over the next hour.

I'd also like to ask you the two standard Mumsnet questions we like to ask all Bookclub authors:

Which childhood book most inspired you?

What would be the first piece of advice you would give anyone attempting to write fiction?

Over to you…

lucja Tue 29-Apr-14 21:03:11

Hello! Two questions from me -
Were Ifemelu and Obinze always destined to be together as you wrote?

I am a huge admirer of your work and have always enjoyed your books. This one took a more truthful tone and I found the honesty of the book hugely appealing. Is it a book you've always wanted to write and felt the need to be established as an author to write it?

My village book club are reading this book this month and next Wednesday we'll all be at my house drinking wine and discussing it - fancy a web chat with us then?? ;)

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:04:18

It's nice to be here. Thank you. I'm a bit dense about web chats so I hope I can figure out how this works.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:04:49

I loved the FAMOUS FIVE series by Enid Blyton. Chinua Achebe’s ARROW OF GOD made me fall in love with storytelling.

Fishstix Tue 29-Apr-14 21:05:05

I loved all three of your full sized novels (not a bit short story fan so avoided that one) so much, you characters really resonated with me. I was particularly taken with the fall from affluence in HOAYS. The descriptions of the desperation of becoming that poor were beautifully written. How do you research something like that? How do you gain that understanding in order to be able to describe it so well?

And please write more soon! smile

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:05:35

My first piece of advice to anyone attempting to write fiction:
Write as if your family and friends will never get to read it. That way, you are less likely to self-censor.

alialiath Tue 29-Apr-14 21:06:21

Hello Chimamanda, I thoroughly enjoyed the book , but Ifemelu came across to me as a very selfish character, and as long as she got what she wanted she didn't care who got hurt in the process.Did you intend to portray Ifemelu this way, and if so why ?

BonzoDooDah Tue 29-Apr-14 21:06:49

Hello Chimamanda
I am halfway through Americanah and loving reading it. Your descriptions are delicious - bringing all senses together to make the whole feeling of being there. For example the hot Summer's day by Ifemelu's new flat. I could feel the pulsing heat and slight rotting smell. Divinely encapsulated.
Does it take you long to formulate these descriptions or do they pour out of you so well formed?

I really like the character of Ifemelu. She is such a strong person - standing up to the world and taking on new experiences but not angelic - flawed too. The patriarchal Nigerian society you describe somewhat doesn't seem to bring forth the best from women. But it obviously worked for you. Did you grow up with strong women role models?

turkeybaby Tue 29-Apr-14 21:07:58

Hi chimamanda I'm half way through Americanha and really enjoying it and looking forward to hearing from you tonight. I think you got the attitudes so right in London. Have you spent time there?

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:08:37

sparkysparkysparky

Hi I enjoyed the book but .. At first the characters were almost Jane Austen like in the way they revealed themse through what they said. However it turned into a 19 century Russian novel once it moved to theUS. Every conversation imbued with significance and analysis. That said I loved what the "hair" passages taught me about Ifemelu's experience. Question for Chimamanda : Did Ifemelu love or even like anybody in this novel? I don't think she did

She adored Dike and Obinze’s mother. She loved her parents and aunt. She cared about the men she dated. But I understand that she isn’t what we have come to expect of women characters and even of women in real life. She’s not invested in being ‘likeable’ and ‘pleasant.’ She’s not easily content, she doesn’t settle, she provokes. Her affections are prickly, complicated things.

highlandcoo Tue 29-Apr-14 21:09:07

Hi Chimamanda

It's great that you're here to have a conversation with us.

Do you often have the opportunity to meet your readers at book festivals and so on .. if so facing a room full of people must be very different from the (I imagine) solitary life of a writer. Do you enjoy the experience?

I've just read the first few chapters of Americanah and am completely engrossed. Thank you.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:10:02

sweetkat32

I'm about halfway through the book and I have found it such a wonderful learning experience, and really opened my eyes! Thankyou for such a brilliant novel.
My question for Chimamanda do you think people will ever be able to accept each other for who we are or will race always come into it?
Thankyou again for my copy of the book!

Race is not a problem. Racism is. I don’t think a ‘color-blind’ world will ever exist, whatever that means, but I do think its possible to come to a place where we stop attaching negative ideas to a particular group of people. There are many relationships and friendships between people of different races that prove that we can of course accept each other for who we are, but maybe the problem is that we haven’t figured out how to do it on a larger societal and structural level.

MaxineQuordlepleen Tue 29-Apr-14 21:10:08

Hi Chimamanda, I first came across your work with your TED talk. I use it a lot when teaching about prejudice, preconceptions and discrimination of all kinds. It speaks so simply but powerfully- it never fails to impress and inspire my students, some of whom are living with hugely difficult challenges and some of whom have quite a lot of power to impose their versions of stories on others. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you very much from us all!

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:10:57

Stanislas

Thank you for the book. I haven't started reading it yet but I'm looking forward to it. I read a profile of you in the Sunday Times. This may be frivolous but you said you loved Boots the Chemist when you came to London. What is so special for you there?

Not frivolous at all! Boots is like no other drugstore in the world. I can’t explain it really. I love to wander around Boots and discover things. It might just be because it is ‘exotic’ to me. It’s not like the pharmacies in Nigeria and not like the drugstores in the US, the two places I am most familiar with. I feel very comfortable and welcome in Boots, which must sound a bit silly. And I think my love of Boots is also connected to my love of London. I think London is such a wonderful city in so many ways.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:11:48

Lenniepennie

I'm intrigued by this title bit haven't read your other two books yet blush. If I wanted to read them all, is there a order you would recommend?

Maybe the order in which they were written? They really are all very different and came from different emotional places in my life.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:13:00

Uzma01

My questions to Chimamanda:

Which of her characters does she most identify with, from Americanah or any of her other books?

Also, what does she draw on for inspiration - her own experience, that of people she knows or has spoken to; or something else entirely?

Thank you so much for a copy of the book; have loved reading it - also really enjoyed Chimamanda's other books.

Uzma01

My questions to Chimamanda:

Which of her characters does she most identify with, from Americanah or any of her other books?

Also, what does she draw on for inspiration - her own experience, that of people she knows or has spoken to; or something else entirely?

Thank you so much for a copy of the book; have loved reading it - also really enjoyed Chimamanda's other books.

Almost all the stories are based on ‘real’ stories, some are my experiences but most are other peoples’– because my life is quite boring and isn’t a great source of material. I lived in the US and Nigeria. I have spent a lot of time in the UK and have family there.
There’s also a lot of fusing of my imagination into these ‘real’ stories – I twist and change and reinvent things

miluth Tue 29-Apr-14 21:14:05

Do you always know how the main story in your books will unfold and ultimately end or do you let the story happen as you write, changing the path of the story as you go?

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:14:21

Uzma01

My questions to Chimamanda:

Which of her characters does she most identify with, from Americanah or any of her other books?

Also, what does she draw on for inspiration - her own experience, that of people she knows or has spoken to; or something else entirely?

Thank you so much for a copy of the book; have loved reading it - also really enjoyed Chimamanda's other books.

I never quite know which character is most like me. A close friend said I had split myself into two to create Kainene and Olanna in HOAYS. Another close friend said I am Obinze. Another said Ifemelu is ‘you without your warmth.’ I get attached to most of my characters but never really see them as extensions of myself. I do particularly admire some characters more than others. I adored Kainene. And admired Ifemelu. And felt a kinship to Ugwu and Obinze and Aunty Ifeoma in PH

BonzoDooDah Tue 29-Apr-14 21:14:55

I was looking around at the things you have written and found a short story called "Ceiling" is this the draft version of Americanah? Does it stand apart from Americanah or is that where Ifemelu was born and you had to write more?

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:15:34

juneau

I enjoyed this book immensely and was fairly sure I would, having previously read 'Half of a Yellow Sun' and loved it.

In both of these books I particularly appreciated the incredible sense of place. I've lived in the USA as a foreigner and a British English speaker and I found myself nodding and laughing at the observations made about the two different versions of the language and the common misunderstandings that arise. Having lived there for six years myself I could tell that Chimamanda has also spent some serious time in the country, otherwise she couldn't have written such a rich, descriptive narrative. The shortening of names, for instance, and the refusal to properly acknowledge a name that is not familiar, was something that I'd noticed too.

I was also very interested by the race angle of the book. As a white British person I blunder through life largely unaware of the experiences of people of colour around me. The essential differences between the heritage of a black American and a black African and how this informs their way of seeing the world were things I had not dwelt upon, so I found this very interesting and informative - thank you for opening my eyes.

Question for Chimamanda: how long do you spend researching and writing each of your books? You're not an author who churns out a book a year, instead you present us with one beautifully formed gem every few years, so are you working on the next book all that time or do you go off and do other things? The richness of your characters suggests that you spend a long time bringing them to life - but maybe it would just take ME a long time and for you it's a much faster process!

Thank you. I love knowing I’m not alone in my bewilderment about American English! What’s funny though is that I am now a terrible English mutt. I grew up spelling the British way in Nigeria but now spell the American way because I went to university there. Sometimes I’m no longer sure how to spell words like ‘diarrhea.’ Ha. I work slowly. I do a lot of re-writing. I wish I could do a book a year but I don’t see that happening.

A bit left field but what do you think of the anti-racism campaign taking off in football ATM, based on re-claiming those bananas that some idiots were throwing on to the pitch in an offensive way?

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:17:46

SuburbanCrofter

Sorry have just read previous posts and realise there is an important political discussion taking place about hair - I just thought yours looked nice in the author pictures I have seen of you!

^Slinks off in shame at lack of political awareness^

This just made me laugh! No, nothing is too shallow to talk about in my opinion. And thank you. I do think that what we consider attractive and 'appropriate' about hair is also political, so your opinion is relevant.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:19:46

JugglingFromHereToThere

A bit left field but what do you think of the anti-racism campaign taking off in football ATM, based on re-claiming those bananas that some idiots were throwing on to the pitch in an offensive way?

I think it's absurd. By starting off with the bananas, it gives a kind of legitimacy to the bananas and to the idea behind them. I still can't get over the astonishment I felt when I first learned about banana throwng in football fields.

BonzoDooDah Tue 29-Apr-14 21:20:16

I don't think anyone knows how to spell diarrhea wink

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:21:01

miluth

Do you always know how the main story in your books will unfold and ultimately end or do you let the story happen as you write, changing the path of the story as you go?

I have a vague idea but I never fully know and often, in the magical way that fiction happens when its going well, the characters take over and I find the story going somewhere else that I had not quite imagined.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:23:52

MaxineQuordlepleen

Hi Chimamanda, I first came across your work with your TED talk. I use it a lot when teaching about prejudice, preconceptions and discrimination of all kinds. It speaks so simply but powerfully- it never fails to impress and inspire my students, some of whom are living with hugely difficult challenges and some of whom have quite a lot of power to impose their versions of stories on others. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you very much from us all!

Thank you. That means a lot to me. When I gave that talk I had no idea it would resonate with so many people. I just wanted to talk about what I genuinely cared about. And it makes me (foolishly) sentimental sometimes, when I hear of the different people from different parts of the world for whom it has been meaningful. I feel warm and think of our 'one human family.' Until something in the news snaps me out of my sentimentality.
(How do the emoticons work? A dragon seemed appropriate here)

LePamplemousse Tue 29-Apr-14 21:24:01

I loved your TED talk on 'the danger of the single story' - so inspiring and I referenced it in one of my university essays recently. Was there any one incident or critical moment which inspired you to find your voice as a writer, and start telling your stories? Or have you always written?

alialiath Tue 29-Apr-14 21:24:38

Do you have a writing routine, and have you got a special place /room where you work, that inspires you ?

Oh, I thought it could be a good thing, mainly because I like the idea of re-claiming stuff, and that the visual thing could work well making the most of the internet, Facebook etc.
Perhaps I look down a bit on football supporters but I thought a simple idea for simple people could have it's place wink

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:25:42

highlandcoo

Hi Chimamanda

It's great that you're here to have a conversation with us.

Do you often have the opportunity to meet your readers at book festivals and so on .. if so facing a room full of people must be very different from the (I imagine) solitary life of a writer. Do you enjoy the experience?

I've just read the first few chapters of Americanah and am completely engrossed. Thank you.

I enjoy meeting my readers. I'm very interested in people and their stories. But I find that, during a book tour, the first few events are enjoyable and meaningful, and then I start to find them tedious because I start to feel a little false, saying the same things over and over again.

DottyDee Tue 29-Apr-14 21:27:59

Hi Chimamanda, I find Americanah to be so eloquently written and I love the characterisations. Ifemelu is a great character and Obinze is adorable. I have 100 pages left and don't want it to end!
Why is does Ifemelu feel nervous around Shan? She's been through so much and people have never made her feel like this before. Why is Shan so special?

LePamplemousse Tue 29-Apr-14 21:29:08

Oh - not a question, but thank you for 'Purple Hibiscus'. It opened my mind to a different world. It is so evocative and beautiful.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:30:21

BonzoDooDah

Hello Chimamanda
I am halfway through Americanah and loving reading it. Your descriptions are delicious - bringing all senses together to make the whole feeling of being there. For example the hot Summer's day by Ifemelu's new flat. I could feel the pulsing heat and slight rotting smell. Divinely encapsulated.
Does it take you long to formulate these descriptions or do they pour out of you so well formed?

I really like the character of Ifemelu. She is such a strong person - standing up to the world and taking on new experiences but not angelic - flawed too. The patriarchal Nigerian society you describe somewhat doesn't seem to bring forth the best from women. But it obviously worked for you. *Did you grow up with strong women role models?*

I wish they just poured out easily. And I'm so glad you liked Ifemelu. She isn't popular with some women readers, and to be fair, I understand why. But I wish there were more female characters like her, and more women allowed to be like that in general -- without being judged for it. There's a kind of perfection expectation on women and I find myself kicking against it. I grew up among strong, complex women. And also among women who were not strong and who let themselves be what they imagined the world wanted them to be, rather than what they authentically were. I hope this makes sense.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:31:46

DottyDee

Hi Chimamanda, I find Americanah to be so eloquently written and I love the characterisations. Ifemelu is a great character and Obinze is adorable. I have 100 pages left and don't want it to end!
Why is does Ifemelu feel nervous around Shan? She's been through so much and people have never made her feel like this before. Why is Shan so special?

Good question. And I wish I had the answer. The truth is: I don't know. Life is odd, isn't it? Sometimes a strong person who seems to have it all together can fall apart in the face of something unlikely.

snice Tue 29-Apr-14 21:34:47

HI. Thanks so much for the book-I have previously read your other books so this was a real treat.
My question is-were you worried about seeing your work 'Half of a Yellow Sun' made into a film? dii you find it hard to 'let go' of the characters that were in your head?

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:35:15

vanbandi

Thank you for my free copy. I have started and I enjoy it. I am an immigrant as well however from Europe I can recognize Ifemelu's feelings.
Yesterday I gave up my seat to an elderly lady on the tube and she said: 'oh thank you my love I am reading the same book smile'

This is so lovely. (Imagine Inserted Smiling Face Because I Don't Know How.) I think there are immigrant experiences that are specific and some that cut across all groups. Most of all I think the emotional sense of dislocation is the same for everyone who leaves home or who isn't sure what home is anymore.

BonzoDooDah Tue 29-Apr-14 21:35:59

And also among women who were not strong and who let themselves be what they imagined the world wanted them to be, rather than what they authentically were. I hope this makes sense.

Perfectly. Anuty Uju meeting and courting that vile man. I've seen friends transformed exactly as you say when they meet men and take on a role. I can't bear it, I couldn't bear reading about Aunty Uju - I feel her soul draining away.

Roxy13 Tue 29-Apr-14 21:36:18

I love your books so thank you for the pleasure you bring through them.

Do you I think anyone can write if they have a desire? If so, even if that desire only comes to you in mid life?

FatMumSlim72 Tue 29-Apr-14 21:36:23

Hi Chimamanda, my daughter is studying Purple Hibiscus for her GCSE next week. She would like to know what the characters think the future holds for Nigeria at the very end of the novel. She has really enjoyed reading it and getting to know the characters so well, having studied it for over a year.

SuburbanCrofter Tue 29-Apr-14 21:38:12

Thank you for your understanding - I felt deeply embarrassed that I'd derailed a serious literary discussion! blush

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:38:41

solosolong

I haven't read Americanah but loved the previous two novels. I would be interested to know what Chimamanda thinks about the current situation in Nigeria. Does she think that there is any hope of the religious tensions easing; is this something which affects her life there? Thanks

I'm in Lagos, and for many of us here, the violence seems remote because it's in the north and we imagine it won't get to the south. Which doesn't necessarily make sense of course. But every one in Nigeria is emotionally affected by Boko Haram. Still, I am generally hopeful about the future. People of different religions can live together if we stop politicizing religion.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:40:45

snice

HI. Thanks so much for the book-I have previously read your other books so this was a real treat.
My question is-were you worried about seeing your work 'Half of a Yellow Sun' made into a film? dii you find it hard to 'let go' of the characters that were in your head?

No. But I stayed away from the process of the film making because I just thought it was the more sensible thing to do. It's like knowing your baby has to be cut up, but not wanting to be there, and feeling mostly okay because you have faith in the person who is doing the cutting-up. It's a beautiful film that I am very pleased with and proud of.

FatMumSlim72 Tue 29-Apr-14 21:43:02

Don't worry, this isn't a question she has to answer for an exam!! She is interested in the characters as she feels she knows them so well.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:43:43

Suedonim

Chimamanda, I haven't had a chance to read Americanah yet, although it waiting for me to pick it up when I have the time. I loved your previous two novels, both of which I read while I was living in Nigeria for five years. It's an endlessly fascinating country that turns one's assumptions on their heads sometimes!

How hopeful are you that Nigeria's current troubles can be overcome, tapping into its immense wealth and the potential of its population to improve life for all citizens? How much time do you spend in Nigeria now and do you find it a culture shock going between two such different countries?

If I may ask another question, which other contemporary Nigerian authors do you admire?

Many thanks for reading this.

I admire Eghosa Imasuen, Lola Shoneyin, Chika Unigwe.
I'm in Lagos right now and spend more time here these days. Not a culture shock at all. The two worlds are different but again not that different and I am slightly different versions of myself in both places. As a friend told me once, I'm 'louder' in Nigeria. :-)

Belo Tue 29-Apr-14 21:44:21

Hi. Hope I'm not too late! I've just finished the book and am sad to say goodbye to Ifemelu. I would like to read more about Nigeria. I've read Purple Hibiscus and Half if a Yellow Sun. Can you recommend any other modern day Nigerian writers?

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:45:41

lucja

Hello! Two questions from me -
Were Ifemelu and Obinze always destined to be together as you wrote?

I am a huge admirer of your work and have always enjoyed your books. This one took a more truthful tone and I found the honesty of the book hugely appealing. Is it a book you've always wanted to write and felt the need to be established as an author to write it?

My village book club are reading this book this month and next Wednesday we'll all be at my house drinking wine and discussing it - fancy a web chat with us then?? ;)

Great question about feeling the need to be established. I think that's probably true to an extent. But, before I was 'established,' I don't think I even had the book in me. It's a book that came from observing the world from a particular point of view, and that POV I think was informed by my experience as an 'estabilshed' writer.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:49:20

dragonfly63

Congratulations that Americanah has been short listed for the Baileys Prize andwon the US National Book Critics Award, it is well deserved.

I used to live in Birmingham which is multi-racial, the school that my son attended had children from 56 different countries. Despite being heavily involved with that school and with the parents your book has taught me so much about what people who are different have to face. Have you sufferedfrom racism and if so how did you overcome it (apart from writing this wonderful book of course)?

There's a lot of silence around subjects of this sort, because people feel uncomfortable and uncertain. I think ignorance, without arrogance, can be a good thing. I think more conversations should be had so people can just get to see the world through the eyes of others, and better understand others. I wanted to write a book that was frank about things that we think but don't say outside our comfort zones.

juneau Tue 29-Apr-14 21:49:48

I struggle with spelling 'diarrhea' too and 'pediatrician'. It doesn't help that my husband is American and is always bringing back medicines from the US, so our medicine drawer is full of packets with American spellings on them, which compounds my confusion!

Re: Ifemulu's imperfection - I thought she was all the more believable for her flaws. She suffers with depression. She is snarky at times. She cheats on her boyfriend. She goes to the yucky tennis coach's house to have sex with him, knowing that that is what she is going to have to do. She feels revulsion and self-hatred afterwards - this makes her human. I'm not saying I'd have made the same choices, just that her flaws make her seem real. I like reading about women who seem real and she did - warts and all.

Fascinated by differing posts about Ifemelu. I wanted to be more like her, I liked her exploration and her inquisitive mind, and I admired her sense of self assuredness, I felt she had this self assuredness even when she was at sea with her feelings or her bewilderment at a new culture. I found her far more human than many other characters I've been reading recently. Perhaps even more so because I felt like this was an ambitious novel of ideas, and yet the people in it weren't ciphers at all.

I won't post any q's as we only have 15 mins and a lot of posts but am hugely enjoying everyone's comments.

lucja Tue 29-Apr-14 21:51:26

Thanks. I also wondered if you've ever 'blogged' as I found this aspect of Ifem's story such a glorious way to get to know her better.
Art is a lie that makes us realise a truth! smile

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Tue 29-Apr-14 21:51:31

I think you need to be "louder" in Lagos. I lived and worked in Lagos for several years and worked with a wonderful Igbo woman who had lost seven of her eight children in the Biafran war. Her stories of that time were terrible, yet this is an event that a lot of people in the west know nothing about. Are atrocities ignored more when they happen in Africa? The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls has had very little coverage here, what is going on in CAR goes virtually unreported.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:52:53

Belo

Hi Chimamanda,

I've almost finished the book and am hoping to do so before tomorrow night (but at the same time, I've been delaying reaching the end as I'm enjoying it so much! I find Ifemelu totally believable as a character and the sort of woman who I can relate to).

Anyway, in case I don't make the webchat, I've one question I would like to ask. Throughout the book you talk about race in terms of colour of skin and the experiences of black people. Ifemelu says she didn't realise she was black until she moved to America. Within Nigeria is there an equivalent of racism? Maybe people are not discriminated against by the colour of their skin, but aren't there discriminations against different ethnic groupings? E.g the Igbos? Maybe this is a simplistic question but it is something that interests me as my family are white immigrants to this country. Also, your book 'Half of a Yellow Sun' and the horrors it tells of the Biafran war has stayed with me. I would love to think that the ethnic tensions died at the end of the conflict, but realistically I think that cannot be so?

Race is different from ethnicity. Of course there is prejudice everywhere in the world but I was interested in race because it was 'new' to me in America. When you walk into a store in the US, somebody can look at you and label you based on how you look and make assumptions based on that. In Nigeria, you can't tell who is from which ethnic group just by looking at them. It makes that form of prejudice less immediate. Not better or worse, just different.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:54:37

Roxy13

I love your books so thank you for the pleasure you bring through them.

Do you I think anyone can write if they have a desire? If so, even if that desire only comes to you in mid life?

Yes. Absolutely.

juneau Tue 29-Apr-14 21:57:13

I have one more question, if there's time.

Nigeria tends to have a rather bad press. When you write about Nigeria in your books do you hope to raise awareness of the issues in your country and perhaps improve its perception abroad? Your writing has certainly improved my perception of Nigeria, so I was wondering if this is intentional?

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 22:00:32

MarmaladeAtkins51

Hi Chimamanda, I have read and enjoyed and been moved and challenged by all of your books. I absolutely loved Americanah. There is so much I could ask but I?ll post 4 questions and let you choose which to answer.

1. Can Ifemelu really be happy with Obinze? Her abandonment put him through hell and yet he?s ready to leave his wife and daughter for her? She seems like a restless, discontented person who will ultimately tire of his simple and unconditional love.

2, After reclaiming her African accent Ifemelu goes on a quest for authenticity. This includes growing out her relaxed hair. ?Relaxing your hair is like being in a prison. You?re caged.? She writes. Much of her blog conflates self-acceptance for black women with natural hair. However, it doesn?t allow for the women whose hair relaxation isn?t about conforming but about self-expression or practicality (with straight hair you can literally wash and go). Does she (and black women) have to move away from the politics of hair? After all what is natural? Long synthetic hair braided into your own short afro? Natural hair worn under a weave? Using a hot iron? Where do we draw the line?

Shouldn?t hair be about the attitude of the person and not a rod black women use to judge and beat each other?

3. The release of Half of a Yellow Sun has been delayed by censors in Nigeria. Is it too soon for a national dialogue about the Biafran way?

4. Is it problematic ? in terms of telling authentic African stories ? that while there are so many incredible Nigerian writers, the absence of a structured publishing industry in Nigeria means they are all published by foreign publishers?

This is HER experience. She isn't speaking for everyone. I do find it interesting that talk of hair often gets so prickly for black women. There's a lot of defensiveness. I think it would be disingenuous to pretend that in the 'mainstream' world, there isn't a heirarchy of what is considered acceptable in black women's hair. And it's political and complicated but it should be talked about. It's often a question of texture. If Michelle Obama had 'kinky' hair, in an afro or dreads, she would be read very differently by the 'mainstream' world. When I had relaxed hair, I certainly couldn't just 'wash and go.' And certainly can't now that my hair is not relaxed! I just wish ours was a world where all kinds of hair textures have equal social worth. And right now, they don't.
And no, I don't think it's too soon for a dialogue about Biafra. I think it's overdue. It's begun really, but in fits and starts.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 22:01:16

juneau

I have one more question, if there's time.

Nigeria tends to have a rather bad press. When you write about Nigeria in your books do you hope to raise awareness of the issues in your country and perhaps improve its perception abroad? Your writing has certainly improved my perception of Nigeria, so I was wondering if this is intentional?

Nope. Just writing what I know.

That was the fastest hour in history...I'm very sad that we'll have to end it there and let Chimamanda take a breath...

Thank you, everyone, for coming tonight and for all your questions. I have such pleasure in the sharing of this particular book, it's one of my favourites since we started the Bookclub five years ago and it's been a great discussion. Many apologies if your questions didn't get answered, we've been hugely busy tonight.

Most of all, Chimamanda, thank you so much for your insightful answers, and for all your generosity of spirit in coming tonight and speaking so fluently about your writing. I hope that your next project is underway as we can't wait to read it - please will you come back once it is published?

Good luck at the Baileys, I will be cheering you on and crossing fingers.

Many, many thanks again, both for tonight's chat and for your extraordinary books.

lucja Tue 29-Apr-14 22:05:34

Thanks you!

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 22:05:34

ZuluinJozi

Hi Chimamanda

I loved Americanah
Do you think Ifemelu and Blaine had feelings for one another, or that they were just what each needed at the time?

I think they certainly had feelings for each other. Maybe not in the 'conventional' way. Relationships are strange and idiosyncratic things.

ChimamandaNgoziAdichie Tue 29-Apr-14 22:06:38

TillyBookClub

That was the fastest hour in history...I'm very sad that we'll have to end it there and let Chimamanda take a breath...

Thank you, everyone, for coming tonight and for all your questions. I have such pleasure in the sharing of this particular book, it's one of my favourites since we started the Bookclub five years ago and it's been a great discussion. Many apologies if your questions didn't get answered, we've been hugely busy tonight.

Most of all, Chimamanda, thank you so much for your insightful answers, and for all your generosity of spirit in coming tonight and speaking so fluently about your writing. I hope that your next project is underway as we can't wait to read it - please will you come back once it is published?

Good luck at the Baileys, I will be cheering you on and crossing fingers.

Many, many thanks again, both for tonight's chat and for your extraordinary books.

Thank you. It's been lovely. And sorry I didn't get to all the questions. I was trying! Best wishes to everyone from Lagos.

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-Apr-14 22:09:13

I loved this book and am going to buy it for lots of friends - SPOILER ALERT - the only thing I was conflicted about was the ending. Of course they were meant for each other but somehow I always identify with the wife - did anyone else feel uneasy about wanting them to get back together, given he was married? And I echo the person who said they wanted to know what happened next! Thanks so much for all the answers and for such a great book.

Rajie Wed 30-Apr-14 01:05:38

Very sad that I could not chat today.... I have read the book and found it to be a wonderful piece of reading. It really is an eye-opener. Very engaging style of writing. Raises lots of questions and matters can be seen from different perspectives.Brilliantly written and a good read.

Creagbhaner Wed 30-Apr-14 21:12:07

I sympathise with the wife too. Have I missed the live chat? If not how do I join? Day help digital immigrant lol!��

Creagbhaner Wed 30-Apr-14 21:13:31

Can anyone help me join the live web chat?��

Creagbhaner Wed 30-Apr-14 21:16:56

Hello anyone. I was trying to join the live web chat but don't know how to do it. Can anyone help?��

Hi Creagbhaner, I'm afraid you missed the chat - they usually start at 9pm and run for an hour until 10pm.

The next one will be on Weds 4 June, 9-10pm with Kahled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, so do come and join us here.

You don't need to do anything special to join: just read the book, discuss it on the thread and turn up on the night to be part of the live author chat. Or even if you haven't read the latest book, you can still join in with questions about the author's previous work, or their writing life.

LorrieJ Tue 13-May-14 23:45:41

Thanks for the free copy. I love the depictions of contrasting culture in Nigeria and the US. I can't find my original email - where should I leave a review?

theshooglypeg Sat 24-May-14 21:30:15

I was lucky enough to win one of the free copies from Mumsnet, I'm afraid I've only just managed to finish it though! Having got it for free, it seems a bit churlish to say anything other than "It was completely amazing!" And it was good, I did enjoy it, but I felt a bit let down by the ending. I felt like the book explored all sorts of themes, mostly about identity and class and race and a bit of gender, and introduced some interesting characters - and then just ended in a fairly predictable way. For that reason I thought this book was good, but not brilliant. I am interested in reading the author's other work though.

emmaMBC Sun 03-Aug-14 18:22:13

Beautifully written.

Adichie delves into the notion of identity, and how that identity changes when you delve into a different country. Her descriptions of how another country's culture can effect your own perception was beautifully drawn.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now