The Year in Books continues apace; readers keep reading, pages keep turning. I’ve loved checking out what books others have picked. The ‘to read’ list I keep in my head grows ever bigger. My choice for March was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is essentially a love story spanning three continents and fifteen years. It’s an epic which encompasses a vast array of characters. We first meet Ifemelu as a teenager in Nigeria. She falls in love with Obinze. But the path of love does not run smooth. When does it ever? We follow Ifemelu to America, where she experiences ‘race’ for the first time. Obinze is unable to follow her and ends up in London, and we get a glimpse of a hidden side of this city; illegal workers and marriages for visas. But the main focus is on Ifemelu and her experiences as an immigrant in the US and I felt this was where the book was strongest.
I loved Ifemelu; she’s an interesting and opinionated character. The novel is packed with observations on race, relationships and culture. It’s a modern story for our globalised times and it certainly made me think. Another winner for the Year in Books.
Next on my ever-expanding list is Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. It’s set in 19th Century Iceland. I love how reading takes me round the world: from Nigeria to the US and now to Iceland. Without even leaving my bedroom.