Miscellaneous

Author spotlight: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’ve been wanting to do author spotlights since I started this blog, but I hadn’t finished any of my favourite authors’ work – until now! I finally finished the last of Chimamanda’s published books, so I can now officially say I’ve read all of her stuff.

But let’s start with an introduction. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who’s published three novels, one short-story collection and an essay, focusing mainly on the lives of women in her homeland. She moved to the United States at the age of 19 and published her first novel in 2003. She’s studied various subjects at different universities over the years; medicine, communications, political science, creative writing and African studies. She now divides her time between Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops, and the US.

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I’m now going to highlight each of her published books in chronological order.

 

Purple Hibiscus (novel, 2003)

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This book focuses mainly on religion, family and abuse. It’s a wonderful novel all about loving someone even when they’re hurting you, and about learning that maybe what you’ve been taught isn’t true after all. (Full review)

 

Half of a Yellow Sun (novel, 2006)

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I love this book to bits and I would definitely say it’s my favourite of hers. It’s set during the Nigerian Civil War and follows a bunch of people who are incredibly different from each other. We see the war break people apart and bring others together, while every character grows on their own throughout the novel.

 

The Thing around your Neck (short-story collection, 2009)

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This is the only short-story collection I’ve ever read, so I’m definitely not an expert, but I really enjoyed it and think Chimamanda did a fantastic job pulling the reader into every single story over a very limited number of pages. The collection deals with all kinds of things, all of them important and interesting. (Full review)

 

Americanah (novel, 2013)

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This is the first book of hers I ever read, and it made me fall in love with her work. Chimamanda has a way of describing places that completely pulls you into the story and makes you feel like you’re there. This book is all about a girl who moved to the United States years ago and now wants to go back home to Nigeria; while she’s getting her hair done, ready to leave, she thinks about everything that has happened to her, both at home and in the US. The main character is fantastic, smart, unapologetic and incredibly likable.

 

We should all be Feminists (essay, 2014)

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I feel bad ending this post on a negative note, but this is definitely my least favourite work of hers. It’s a sort of extended version of the author’s 2012 TEDx talk, and I just felt like it didn’t live up to my expectations. In her stories, Chimamanda doesn’t shy away from anything, she writes about whatever she wants and makes her opinions on things very clear – that’s what I love so much about her. And I can’t help feeling like this essay is just too tame. It didn’t make me feel excited about her thoughts and opinions, it just read like a repetition of all the things every feminist in the world has already said. But then again, everyone seems to absolutely love this book, so maybe it’s just me.

 

Those are all the published books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! I hope if you’re interested in reading her work but don’t know where to start, this might serve as a sort of very basic guide. There’s no certain way of getting into her books – you can start with pretty much any of them and you’ll be fine. But if you’re still unsure and would like some advice, I’d be glad to recommend something based on what you like in the comments below. And, of course, if you’re a fellow fan, I would love to know what your favourite book is and if you agree or disagree with anything I said.

‘Till next time and happy reading!

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17 thoughts on “Author spotlight: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  1. Yes author spotlights! 🙂 I have so much of her backlist still to read! Loved Purple Hibiscus and Half of. I got Americanah at a sale recently so will finally be able to read.more recent work. Which one is your fave?

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  2. I absolutely adored We Should All Be Feminists. I totally agree that it wasn’t anything new, but I just really loved that it was a great introductory to feminism. I know a few people who knew nothing about feminism or had a ton of misconceptions about it and this book really helped educate them. It would be really awesome to read something a bit more in depth from Chimamanda regarding feminism though because I’m sure she would have some amazing opinions.

    I really want to read the rest of her works too. They’re not usually books I’d read because I’m not really a literary fiction reader, but I’m definitely trying to read outside my comfort zone and more diversely. She sounds like such an amazing writer too!

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    1. Yes, I can definitely see how it would be a great introduction to feminism, but as someone who had already heard all the stuff she said time and time again, I found it a bit boring.

      I wouldn’t say her books are literary fiction! Purple Hibiscus maybe, but Half of a Yellow Sun is historical fiction. Americanah doesn’t have much of a plot so it could be literary fiction, but it doesn’t feel like it. To me literary fiction is serious, sad, slightly weird and incredibly boring (I really don’t get along with that genre), so I don’t like putting my favourite books is that category. I’d say it’s simply adult fiction, although it also feels a bit like YA. It’s difficult to place haha.

      If you wanna read outside of your comfort zone I’d definitely recommend her books, I absolutely love them! And I think they’re a really easy way into adult fiction and more “literary” (pretentious word) books, because while they’re more serious reads, they’re still entertaining and total page-turners.

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      1. Oh yeah, that’s definitely understandable. It could also be because it’s like the first feminism book I’ve read so I was just like YESSS to everything haha.

        Haha, your interpretation of literary fiction is amazing 😅 Anything that’s not YA or horror intimidates me, haha! I definitely plan on reading her short story collection, Purple Hibiscus and seeing how I go with Americanah.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It was actually the first non-fiction book I read about feminism too now that I think about it! But I knew so much from videos and the internet in general already. 😅
          Haha I guess Half of a Yellow Sun is the most intimidating one, what with the war and sadness and violence. But it’s really wonderful. 😃 Her short-story collection is a good place to start! That way you can get an idea of her writing style and themes. Good idea. 😊

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  3. Such a wonderful post!!!! Thank you thank you. I love Adichie, but I still haven’t read her last two (though I own them, so I should dig them out already). Your take on We Should All Be Feminists is so interesting! I’ve also read quite a lot in feminist thought so it sounds like maybe not a good fit. I wonder if ‘tame’ is what one has to do nowdays to reach the masses though – I am always aghast to learn how many people consider “feminist” a bad word (as if we’re all man-hating or something! UGH).

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