“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is about immigrants leaving and coming home but also finding fulfillment as well as romantic, familial, and platonic relationships. It’s a whole bunch of different stuff that somehow all fits together. Ifemelu is a young woman who immigrated to America where she’s lived for several years and looks back over her life while preparing to return to Nigeria.
“Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue is the story of a couple, Jendi and Neni Jonga, who emigrate from Cameroon with their young son, Liomi, in hopes of a better life in New York City. The couple struggles for a while with Jende initially working as a cab driver while Neni works as a nurse’s assistant and is studying to become a pharmacist. Things seem to be heading in the right direction when Jende lands a better paying job as the driver for a wealthy family, the Edwards. That is until both families’ lives are turned upside down by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
On a basic level, “Ghana Must Go” by Taiye Selasi is a book about family and identity. A man named Kweku Sai, his wife Fola, and their four children. Kweku is from Ghana and Fola is from Nigeria, the two meet in America and get married. It’s a very engrossing read about how pride, fear, and secrets can steal our joy and cut us off from having and maintaining meaningful relationships.
“A Particular Kind of Black Man” by Tope Folarin tells the story of Tunde Akinola, the son of Nigerian immigrants who settled in Utah. Released in 2019, A Particular Kind of Black Man is the first full-length title from Folarin. The story is not exactly autobiographical but is influenced by some aspects and experiences from the author’s life.