It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader,
where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as
well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book,
or anything else that the opening inspires.
- The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice,
where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find
one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, borrowed from the library.
Beginning: Princeton, in the summer, smelled of nothing, and although Ifemelu liked
the tranquil greenness of the many trees, the clean streets and stately
homes, the delicately overpriced shops, and the quiet, abiding air of
earned grace, it was this, the lack of a smell, that most appealed to
her, perhaps because the other American cities she knew well had all
smelled distinctly. Philadelphia had the musty scent of history. New
Haven smelled of neglect. Baltimore smelled of brine, and Brooklyn of
sun-warmed garbage. But Princeton had no smell. She liked taking deep
breaths here. She liked watching the locals who drove with pointed
courtesy and parked their latest model cars outside the organic grocery
store on Nassau Street or outside the sushi restaurants or outside the
ice cream shop that had fifty different flavors including red pepper or
outside the post office where effusive staff bounded out to greet them
at the entrance. She liked the campus, grave with knowledge, the Gothic
buildings with their vine-laced walls, and the way everything
transformed, in the half-light of night, into a ghostly scene. She
liked, most of all, that in this place of affluent ease, she could
pretend to be someone else, someone specially admitted into a hallowed
American club, someone adorned with certainty.
Page 56: "Each time Ifemelu came to Kayode's house, she imagined what it was like to live here, in Ikoyi, in a gracious and graveled compound, with servants who wore white."
My thoughts: This book was chosen for one of my book clubs, which meets very close to Princeton, New Jersey. When considering this novel, we found the opening paragraph amusing, and were drawn in by the synopsis.
From Goodreads: From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun,
a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young
man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in
the countries they come to call home.
As teenagers in a Lagos
secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their 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.
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.
Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.
Which book are you reading now or about to start?
Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings was originally published by
Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com. This post cannot be
republished without attribution. Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are encouraged and appreciated.