Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The Afropolitan Anthropologist

This month the Afro-library is spotlighting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of the best-selling contemporary writers of Afro-literary fiction.

I find Chimamanda to be one of today’s most introspective and insightful writers on race and culture. In addition to having a keen ability to create an engaging story, she unabashedly incorporates social commentary into each of her novels and short stories – sometimes, arguably, at the risk of artistic excellence. But the fact remains that her ability to conceptualize society’s idiosyncrasies is perhaps her greatest strength. She is the perfect example of an afropolitan author with the heart of an anthropologist.

After digging through the Afro-library bookshelves, we came up with a few samples that best illustrate Chimamanda’s unique voice. Check out these quotes, add your own, or simply tell us what you think of her work.

Fiction
“…humility had always seemed to him a specious thing, invented for the comfort of others; you were praised for humility by people because you did not make them feel any more lacking than they already did.” (Purple Hibiscus)

“He tried to visualize a heaven, a God seated on a throne, but could not. Yet the alternative vision, that death was nothing but an endless silence, seemed unlikely. There was a part of him that dreamed, and he was not sure if that part could ever retreat into an interminable silence. Death would be a complete knowingness, but what frightened him was this: not knowing beforehand what it was he would know.” (Half of a Yellow Sun)

“You did not want him to go to Nigeria, to add it to the list of countries where he went to gawk at the lives of poor people who could never gawk back at his life.” (The Thing Around Your Neck)

“Poverty was a gleaming thing; she could not conceive of poor people being vicious or nasty because their poverty had canonized them them, and the greatest saints were the foreign poor.” (Americanah)

TED Talks and Other Quotables
“Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.”

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

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