Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah” is one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2013

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - December 2013 - BellaNaija

The New York Times recently released its list of The 10 Best Book of 2013, selected by the editors of the publication.

Award winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s third novel – Americanah made the cut.

Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - December 2013 - BellaNaija

Read the short review;

By turns tender and trenchant, Adichie’s third novel takes on the comedy and tragedy of American race relations from the perspective of a young Nigerian immigrant. From the office politics of a hair-braiding salon to the burden of memory, there’s nothing too humble or daunting for this fearless writer, who is so attuned to the various worlds and shifting selves we inhabit — in life and online, in love, as agents and victims of history and the heroes of our own stories.

Other books on the list include Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark and Days of Fire by Peter Baker.

Chimamanda made headlines yesterday when she featured in Beyoncé’s new song “***FLAWLESS” from her fifth studio album, BEYONCÉ. (click here to read).

Have you read the book? If yes, let us know what you think.

To read the article on The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2013, click here

63 Comments on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah” is one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2013
  • me December 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    twasnt a great book…a let down tbh compared to her other work #myhonestopinion

    • Iris December 14, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      I concur

      • CC December 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm

        same here i gave it a weak 6.5

    • Chigbo December 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm


    • sefi-ann December 14, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      thank you!! i have been saying this. compared to purple
      hibiscus and half of a yellow sun, americanah is a huge let

    • dan December 14, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      not her best. but still the best to make it on their top
      10. i actually think it was better than her 1st book.

      • Shocked One December 15, 2013 at 4:29 am

        Totally agree with U guys. Bought the book and even got it
        autographed. Gave it out yet I still have my tattered copy of half
        of a yellow sun. Go figure

    • nikky December 15, 2013 at 2:15 am


    • Fokasibe December 15, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Ha! been a while since I dropped a comment here. Saying I concur is an understatement. The book was WEAK! I tire for over hyping oooo. My biggest regret in books I bought this year was Americanah. As in I regret.

    • Fountain of Paper December 15, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Having read ‘Purple Hibiscus’, I approached ‘Half of A
      Yellow Sun’ with a lot of excitement. I wasn’t disappointed. Then
      came ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ and I was confused. Where is the
      CNA who wrote ‘Purple Hibiscus’? However, someone reminded me that
      an anthology such as that one may have been put together over a
      long period of time – hence the disjointed feel. Now a few years
      later, enter ‘Americanah;. I bought the book but I was quite
      reluctant to read it, still smarting from my experience with ‘The
      Thing Around Your Neck’. The reviews about it being a subtle
      campaign for natural hair turned me off slightly. Please don’t get
      me wrong. I have my thick 4C hair in my satin cap crowning my head
      right now. However, I believe the author should have very minimal
      presence in a book. A story and its characters can drive a book. In
      October, I finally decided to read Americanah, and I can’t say I
      feel disappointed. I’m just ‘bleh’. It’s enjoyable and she covers a
      lot of ground the reader can relate to. (if you’re a Nigeria in
      diaspora like me – gosh I hate that expression) but the plot is so
      weak and the writing is nothing like is expected of CNA circa
      2010/2011 (I’m assuming that’s when the book was actually written).
      The long excerpts of the blog posts within the text slowed down the
      narrative and after a while I just skipped them all together. The
      story in ‘Americanah’ can sadly be likened to an aircraft which
      starts off on the runway with so much speed and promise and spends
      the next 6 hours taking a stroll around the tarmac.It just drags
      and drags covering more grounds than necessary, leaving the reader
      wondering ‘God, I have wasted 20GBP! I should have just borrowed
      this on Amazon Prime’.

    • GREAT STUFF December 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      i disagree it was really good. characterization was
      amazing, I don’t understand your point, she gets better with every
      new novel.

  • Different shades of Nigerian December 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I thank God I listened to my friends and borrowed this book instead of buying it. Sincerely not her best book by any margin…Of course Oyibos will like it because it shows them some Africans or African Americans are capable of having intellectual conversations (whether coherent or not)… U will only understand my comment if u have read the book

    • Different shades of Nigerian December 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      okay “coherent” might not be the right word to use, but the book just has many plenty yarns that did not come together very well

      • I’m Rick James Bitch! December 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        Sounds like someone’s bristling with half-baked knowledge
        from books he/she has read.

  • Angel December 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Americanah was hands down the best book I read this year!! Chimamanda making us proud!

    • I’m Rick James Bitch! December 14, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      Roger that!

    • literate December 15, 2013 at 12:02 am

      must be the ONLY book you’ve read this year.

  • Berry Dakara December 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    What ‘me’ and ‘Different shades’ said. I didn’t love it. It felt preachy to me.

    Congratulations to her though.

  • pops December 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Can’t forget ceiling and ifemelu best book i read this year.

  • Funmi Oy December 14, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I liked Americanah a lot, but it isn’t my favorite Adichie book. Purple Hibiscus still holds that spot.

    The thing with Americanah is, it reads like the diary of a woman who eventuakky decided to spill all she had bottled up. Every Nigerian immigrant, especially international student in US America can relate to every page of that book…it is almost like she wrote a collage of every immigrant Nigerian’s – infact – African’s diary. So, while I think it is a brilliantly written book, it is too familiar for me to be in awe of it.


    • CC December 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      purple hibiscus will forever be my best Chimamanda book, read it at the age of 12 eight years ago and it changed sometime in me. My love for african based literature was re-kindled( I used to read my sisters SSCE African literature books when i was bored Ngugi wa’thiongo weep not child and Festus Iyayi Violence were my best) but after so many years of being “force fed” western literature everything thing from enid blyton to goosebumps, shakespare even Orwells animal farm although there were all good books, it was refreshing, at that young age i could understand and almost relate to every emotion in the book from page to page it was amazing and i have read that book 10 times since then. Although the” immigrant or immigration” story has been a constant in all of her novels with heavy highlights being in The thing around your neck and Americannah, Americannah felt like a rant with the end being all to predictable and even irritating like what @funmmi said its all too familiar! this book was definitely a one off read for me, i wouldn’t be picking this up on a rainy day.

  • Grace December 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Yeah, I’m in university in America and I can relate to a
    lot of the things she said in that book. Granted, some bits I
    slightly disliked, like the ending, but Americanah is a good book.
    A really good book.

  • Chigbo December 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I struggled to read it unlike the other ones which I couldn’t put down. I eventually gave it out to my sister who eagerly pounced on it thinking it was gonna be like the ones before. It’s gathering dust on the shelf now…….I ll find time to finish it later.

  • Idak December 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I actually enjoyed it (maybe because my expectations were
    not so high).However, I found the book too autobiographical for my
    liking.Most of the complaints and causes she champions in her spare
    time found there way into the book and sounded too preachy at some
    point. It was a good read but I enjoyed ON BLACK SISTERS STREET
    better amongst the Nigerian fiction I read this year.

  • tybay December 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I kinda enjoyed it, though I’ve not read her other books
    and therefore cannot compare or contrast. Like a commenter above
    said, the ending was kind of predictable, what with Ifemelu’s
    rekindled romance with Obinze. Seems like Chimamanda told her own
    life story but put a spin on the plot for obvious

    • Jaguarnana December 15, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Really the ending predictable, how?! Where in the naija
      many couples stay together for the sake of the children, where
      bored frustrated couples seek relief from their stifling marriages
      through affairs but always come back to brood in their marriages
      because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. I was
      blindsided by the ending because I thought she was going to turn
      all African on me & tell the usual story of how they had to
      go their separate ways because it’s the responsible thing to do
      after consulting their pastors

      • E’s Babe December 18, 2013 at 2:11 am

        Well, I said it was predictable because for me, it seemed like how any fictional romance novel would have ended-“True love stands the test of time… and they lived happily ever after.”

  • oma December 15, 2013 at 12:31 am

    All of you ranting……… Can Nigerians ever appreciate
    people? It was a fantastic book!!!!!!! period! After u have spit
    your ugly venom… she is smiling to the bank, u ain’t! And her
    book is on New York Times bestseller list, top ten for a whole year
    and U don’t have a decent paragraph published! They pple who matter
    have decided!!!! I have read 3 of her book and yep Americanah
    didn’t fall short. #nuffsaid

    • TA December 15, 2013 at 2:30 am

      Calm down please,this is not a fight. You loved the
      book,some did not,you can state that calmly and move on. New York
      Times are ‘The people who matter?! You know,some would swear that
      the Nobel Prize in literature are ‘the people who matter’ but look
      what they did with Prof Chinua Achebe! He never got the prize
      despite his immense contributions and influence in the literary
      world. The readers (audience) are always the fairest judge and are
      actually ‘the people who matter’

    • funmi December 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you very much Oma. Many comments dissing the book here are actually hilarious.
      I know chimamanda fell out offavour immediately she try to push for natural hair. That was her offence…she has stepped on toes of the generality of her female readers who will not want to have anything to do with mirror without their weave on…i guess all these rants against her book is a payback time for her. But then, she is busy raking her money inwhen some low lives are busy hating…Whom God has blessed, no man can curse.

  • Lara December 15, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I actually purchased this book and I loved! Absolutely
    loved it! First time in my life I felt like someone was telling my
    story and understood my struggles. Being an immigrant in America is
    not easy and every character in this book reminded me of someone in
    my own life.

  • Chinny December 15, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Wow Are people really serious about this book not been her
    best work. Americannah is way better than Half of a yellow sun. She
    out did her self in that book! I am enjoying every single chapter
    that I sometimes reread the lines in between. This book is full of
    humor and its is the pure truth about America (in my opinion). Well
    i guess i appreciate the book even more having gone to school in
    the U.S

  • Different shades of Nigerian December 15, 2013 at 2:36 am

    My problem with that book is what you like about it, I live
    in America and for the life of me and my friends, we could not
    relate to it one bit !!! Chimamanda may have felt that way when she
    came to this country many years ago but she tried too hard to make
    the stories relevant by making it sound like those events happened
    around Obama’s election. To that, I say Mba ! It is a lie !! That
    book was based on events that happened many many years ago (maybe
    15 – 20 years…just saying)

    • Jaguarnana December 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

      P.s. This is not a biography nor a history book & I challenge you that over 3/4 of Nigerians who migrate to the US, UK & Europe not on “daddy’s money” still face these challenges so open your eyes & stop being so naive. You should take time out to get to know your not so cool classmate (you know those ones who still haven’t shed their accents & are always dressed for winter even though it’s summer time)

      • Different shades of Nigerian December 15, 2013 at 6:07 pm

        Lmao @ “daddy’s money”. U wish ! Normal Nigerian mentality, I said I did not relate to the book, in my discussions with friends who came to America the same time that I did, they did not relate either. Feel free to blame it on the small scholarship money we got from our schools since we must blame something for not understanding Chimamanda. Take your anger else where. PS: My hair is very retouched (u can get angry over that as well)

    • sigh December 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      LOL. Not only is yur hair retouched, your brain seems like it is too.

  • Bird’s Eye December 15, 2013 at 3:13 am

    It was o…k. Like I wasn’t wowed but I can understand why
    it made the list. She told a really good story that that they
    cannot relate with.

  • Bibigirl December 15, 2013 at 4:24 am

    I read the book and I could barely put it down so I don’t
    know what some of you are talking about. Ive read my fair share of
    books and I think I can identify a good book when I come across
    one.But then, maybe I’m biased, being such a huge fan of Ms.
    Adichie and all. I honestly think the book was awesome sha. The
    fact that immigrants can relate to it is perhaps what makes it so
    awesome. That’s what literature is about. Originality. The ability
    to connect with your audience. She is an amazing author who has
    carved a niche for herself and like all great authors, she will
    definitely at some point write some books that are bleh. But that
    time is not yet here, she is still at her prime.

  • Tobenna December 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Not a bad book…but not the best from her anyway! Half of the Yellow Sun remains my favorite…but Americanah! Cant be so sure…but I love my Nigerian sister anyway…*honest words*

  • adaa December 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I love all write ups and talks by chimamanda.u see u cannot understand her books if u cannot imagine in naja we Can relAte to ppurple hibiscus and others but americaanh must be a lfe of an immigrant,nigeria immigrant,so if u ve nver As A strgruggling immigrant. In. AMerica ….YOU CertainlY CAnnot ideNtIfy with the story or ven imagine it..

  • Dee December 15, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I’d love to have a copy of this book,in short I’m eager,but I can’t still get over purple Hibiscus though! I always feel relevant in her books like I’m a character in it, I hope Americana doesn’t fall shot.

  • Jaguarnana December 15, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Some people are strange sha, book felt preachy preachy ? I loved this book because it came from the voice of a real woman, This is the first time in my life I could relate to a novel because it was what I was experiencing now not a story of past or a story of some strange culture. I feel the people who found it boring are those who felt uncovered as Chimamanda peeled back the stinky icky norms of society that is trending & vigorously been aspired by them.

    • Idak December 15, 2013 at 11:29 am

      I saw that coming! Books are like music;tastes are very
      subjective. There is nothing strange about someone not sharing your
      taste. Did you actually see where I confessed to liking the book
      despite it’s preachy tone in my view? As long as a person cared
      enough to buy,borrow or steal a copy, they are entitled to an
      opinion on the book.

      • Different shades of Nigerian December 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm

        God bless you Idak !. I like Dbanj, you like Sunny Ade. No wahala inside, we are all entitled to our likes and dislikes. Whether or not we liked the book, nobody here can say they are not proud that their fellow Nigerian is going places

  • waka waka December 15, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Totally the best of Chimamanda Adichie’s books. Americanah
    tells my story and the story of so many others who left Nigeria to
    study abroad. Parts of the book made me laugh so hard while other
    parts made me uncomfortable and stung with recognition of my own
    subtle racism and shame at aspects of nigerian culture. I read this
    book straight through in two days unlike purple hibiscus and half
    of a yellow sun which took me a while to get through. Well done
    Adichie!!! I am a big fan!!!

  • billie December 15, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I actually loved the book. I think the problem with it is
    that she didn’t make her heroine likable. It was a great book

  • Peaches77 December 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Whaaaat? I totally totally enjoyed Americanah, got it the
    first month it was available in Nigeria. I didn’t want the story to
    end. Loved reading every line and page of that book, just as I
    looooved HOAYS. Loved the way it spanned different cities including
    Lagos and nsukka as well as different life phases. Can’t exactly
    say the same for Purple Hibiscus even though I know it was a very
    good book.

  • ao December 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    I have not read Americanah, but plan to on my long flight to Naija. I have read Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. Half of a Yellow Sun was such a great book and I am hoping that Americanah does not disappoint. I still can’t get Kainene out of my mind. The power of a good write. Congrats Ms. Adichie. Thank you for telling our story especially on Biafra. Idichie indeed. Keep the flag flying.

  • Hannah December 16, 2013 at 9:52 am

    i didnt enjoy Americanah that much, will still read half of the yellow sun over and over again. Chimanda what ever you drank or where ever you sat writing half the yellow sun, please do it again, because this Americanah book felt like you relaxed a bit because of your previous success.

  • Joe December 16, 2013 at 10:19 am

    All Chimamanda’s novels are good

  • Modella December 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I’m so eager to read,don’t know what y’all talking about..I lived in literature!

  • Theresa December 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I loved the different characters and how well she told their individual, yet interwoven stories. I though that was really outstanding.

    However I didn’t like the blog excerpts of Ifemelu. They were too long and came from someone who was a hypocrite. The same person who grumbled on and on about whites maltreating blacks, still maltreated a fellow woman by taking away her husband. 🙁
    Also Chimamanda’s natural hair campaign was a bit too much for me int he book. I am a natural sister, but I don’t think we should spend so much energy on the hair topic. People are entitled to what works for them.
    All the same, I applaud her efforts, I hope she continues to churn out more wonderful books in future.

    • sigh December 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      People like you are scary. Filled with empty ambition and opinions. How can you say Ifemelu took another man’s husband??? Didn’t he come to see her? You have to blame the woman always. Sexist woman.

      THEN why can’t she express her views on hair? just because use natural doesn’t mean u r driven. If u cannot see the sickness worrying black women then you won;t be mad that someone is speaking up in a light hearted manner.
      This is why non-blacks love the book, bcuz they know we r just making a fool of ourselves and we are sitting there, frying our hair and inventing, no, BUYING new caucasian/indian/latin wigs.

  • Ayo December 17, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I liked the book. More mature narrative than Purple hibiscus. I liked the way she tackled race. Didn’t like the heroine much but thats how real people are anyway. As usual she sticks with what she knows. I am quite surprised at the number of people who didn’t like it.

  • K-29 December 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I think it was a great book. She’s making Naija proud.

  • itsjustme December 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    o i read abt this lady sometime ago

  • the mane captain December 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    good for her! im curerntly reading the book now. and it’s my second book of hers that i’m reading. I commend her for her hardwork. I’m sure it’s not easy puting together a book that thick! The book seems to let a lot of “nigerians in the diaspora” down. but it sure made it on NYT top 10 list. This shows that you can’t always count on your own people to support you, because if they don’t support you, others will!
    people just like to hate

  • Amiphat January 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Americanah was so nice, I had to read it twice (seriously, back to back with just a week break to savour the 2nd reading). I have both hard and soft copies and I am totally obsessed with the book.

    I happen to have all her books and I love the fact that Chimamanda’s writing makes me “smell efo-Riro or suya” if she is writing about it. I love the fact that you can also “hear” her voice in some of the dialogue.

    A well deserved honour as far as I am concerned and realistic writing – love is messy, irritating, heart breaking, soul enriching, passionate, boring, threatening, saddening, maddening and totally glorious at the same time.

    Chimamanda rocks.

  • Good Lady March 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

    she’s a great writer though have not read any of her books. Looking forward to read them soon.

  • Ephi September 20, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I just finished reading this book & I loved it!

  • da vicy October 26, 2015 at 10:45 am

    understanding defers. wen u read a book first thing I think one should do is to understand the story behind it, imagine the story. dnt just read a book for reading sake dnt just conclude wen u have not really wat u ar holding. for me her novels ar good in half of a yellow sun she re painted the war without changing the course. in americana she explained wat life is like for an african american and how love can linger no matter how long. from where I come from we appreciate everything good no matter were it comes from

  • Post a comment