Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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Last annotated on December 31, 2013
How was it possible to miss something you no longer wanted?
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Every day you see them carrying a bottle of water as if they will die of heat if they are not drinking water every minute,” Ranyinudo said.
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primary school, Ifemelu had watched the firing squad that killed Lawrence Anini, fascinated by the mythologies around his armed robberies, how he wrote warning letters to newspapers, fed the poor with what he stole, turned himself into air when the police came.
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A Bend in the River.
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You must nod back when a black person nods at you in a heavily white area. It is called the black nod. It is a way for black people to say “You are not alone, I am here too.” In describing black women you admire, always use the word “STRONG” because that is what black women are supposed to be in America. If you are a woman, please do not speak your mind as you are used to doing in your country. Because in America, strong-minded black women are SCARY.
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WHEN SHAN WALKED into a room, all the air disappeared.
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ON THE DAY Barack Obama became the nominee of the Democratic Party, Ifemelu and Blaine made love, for the first time in weeks, and Obama was there with them, like an unspoken prayer, a third emotional presence.
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A sacrilege, that question; immigrants did not ask other immigrants how they got their papers, did not burrow into those layered, private places;
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He paused. He often paused before he spoke. She thought this exquisite; it was as though he had such regard for his listener that he wanted his words strung together in the best possible way.
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“When I started in real estate, I considered renovating old houses instead of tearing them down, but it didn’t make sense. Nigerians don’t buy houses because they’re old. A renovated two-hundred-year-old mill granary, you know, the kind of thing Europeans like. It doesn’t work here at all. But of course it makes sense because we are Third Worlders and Third Worlders are forward-looking, we like things to be new, because our best is still ahead, while in the West their best is already past and so they have to make a fetish of that past.”
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“One male and two females. I’ve been hoping to see the male do its mating dance but I never have. They wake me up in the morning with their cries. Have you heard them? Almost like a child that doesn’t want to do something.”
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They were standing by the bookshelf and she was telling him about the first time she finally read The Heart of the Matter, and he was listening, in that intense manner of his, as though swallowing her words like a drink.
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She heard his words like a melody and she felt herself breathing unevenly, gulping at the air. She would not cry, it was ridiculous to cry after so long, but her eyes were filling with tears and there was a boulder in her chest and a stinging in her throat. The tears felt itchy. She made no sound. He took her hand in his, both clasped on the table, and between them silence grew, an ancient silence that they both knew. She was inside this silence and she was safe.
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