Liberian Saah Millimono’s debut is a moving account of a boy’s life in a time of crisi. Tarnue is at times clear-eyed and wise beyond his years, at others bewildered by the impact of national upheaval on his already challenging existence as Charles Taylor’s forces enter Liberia. Millimono’s is a brave, honest voice. With prose that is authentic and spare, this story of one boy caught up in cataclysmic events is a powerful indictment of the trauma, and the pity,of war.
Those who have been in the fresh produce business longer are immediately visible: mostly old women in khanga sarongs with weary take-it-or-leave-it voices. They hang out in groups, chatting away constantly,as if they want no quiet where the fragility of their community will reveal itself in the this alien place.
It was not the Old Man’s rage that he feared, nor the prospect of police cell and the gunbutts and kicks of his fellow corporals. He did not fear any of that. It was that the Old Man had faded. That was why he had left. There was nothing there anymore. Everybody was leaving, and lying about it.
As teenagers in Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu – beautiful, self-assured – departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze – the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor – had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion for their homeland and for each other, they will face the toughest decisions of their lives. Spanned three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a rich told story set in today’s globalized world.