What happens in Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Americanah, two young lovers flee their home country Nigeria due to political unrest. Obinze finds his way to London where he lands a blue collar job cleaning toilets for meager remuneration. Ifemelu on the other hand sets off for the US where she had obtained a partial scholarship at a Philadelphia school. Even though Ifemelu goes on to achieve a lot, including attaining an esteemed fellowship at Princeton, she comes face to face with the harsh realities of racism in the US and for the first time in her life has to confront what it means to be black in the US. At one point, her economic situation was so bad that she had to turn to prostitution to make ends meet. Her encounters were no different from Obinze’s in London. He experienced a series of botched attempts to immigrate to the US to join Ifemelu, failed to secure a marriage that would earn him citizenship in London, and was finally deported back to Nigeria. However, through unscrupulous deals he ventured into property development and became wealthy. Ifemelu also returns to Nigeria where she and Obinze rekindle their passion for each other as well as their country. Despite Obinze’s marriage to a good wife, he leaves her to be with Ifemelu. They have to struggle in a country where people detest "Americanahs."