cover image (S)kinfolk: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

(S)kinfolk: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

Tochi Onyebuchi. Fiction Advocate, $19.95 trade paper (162p) ISBN 978-0-9994316-9-6

“I did not see myself in a novel until I was 26 years old,” writes Onyebuchi (Riot Baby) in this moving blend of criticism and memoir. That novel, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, sparked a sense of recognition in the child of Nigerian immigrants: it captured “all the ways America... crushes Nigerian-ness, and how Nigerian-ness manages to persist.” Drawing on his reading experience, Onyebuchi tracks the impact of the novel on his life: the protagonist Ifemelu, for example, offered a window for him to examine his mother’s experience, while the novel’s evocation of “Black love” leads him to recount childhood romances. Themes of identity are weighed, as well, with Onyebuchi concluding “if, as an American African, I cannot share a history with African Americans, then maybe we can share a future.” Readers familiar with Americanah will appreciate the author’s insight, and those new to it will find Onyebuchi’s masterful integration of anecdote and criticism accessible. Full of fresh perspective, this is an eye-opener. Agent: Noah Ballard, Verve Talent & Literary Agency. (Apr.)