Americanah tells the story of two lovers, Ifemelu and Obinze, who grow up in Nigeria, destitute and deprived even of schooling as the country descends into chaos. Ifemelu manages to get a visitor’s visa to the US, where she will remain illegally for many years, working hard to support herself and gain academic degrees and eventually a job. Obinze will live in the UK for a few years but is deported back to Nigeria. I found the beginning of the book, in which Ifemelu and her friends eke out a living in a Lagos shantytown breathtaking, and I also loved the story of Ifemelu in the US, as she observes the race barriers from her perspective as, she says, someone who never thought about race before she emigrated, and she encounters well-meaning and not so well-meaning Americans who seem, for the most part, to be quite inept about race. I found Obinze’s story and their eventual reunion less dazzling, but I recommend the book nevertheless for its large-scale story and the perfectly observed details.