Looking back on the year that was, The Guardian and The New York Times have both named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah as one of their best books of 2013.
Adichie is the only writer from The Guardian’s list of best African fiction of 2013 to also make it onto their general best fiction of 2013 list (Why the distinction, we wonder?).
Americanah is mentioned first on The New York Times’ “10 Best Books of 2013″ list, which includes five fiction and five non-fiction titles. Other books that made both lists are The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
Two novels will loom large under Christmas trees this year: Eleanor Catton’s record-breaking Booker winner (longest novel, youngest author) The Luminaries (Granta), and Donna Tartt’s vast study of art and loss, The Goldfinch (Little, Brown). Tartt’s story of a young boy whose life is knocked off course by the loss of his mother is only her third book, and a decade in the writing. She has described her fiction as “painting wall-size murals with a brush the size of an eyelash”, and The Goldfinch combines narrative grandeur with dazzling detail. The Luminaries is a similarly involving read – like a Wilkie Collins mystery set against the New Zealand gold rush – which slowly reveals a complex structure raising questions about fate, free will and the human search for meaning.
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95.
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.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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