“Culturally, we are definitely seeing people being to ask hard questions. There’s been a major shift over the last year. The NSA revelations played a big part but there are all sorts of other issues too, like inequality and gentrification in the Bay Area, and labor abuses everywhere from Amazon’s warehouse, to Apple’s factories, to start-ups like Uber and TaskRabbit. There’s also the issue of tech titans throwing their weight around in Washington and lobbying. There was just a Reuters poll that reported that more than half of Americans are concerned that tech companies are “encroaching too much on their lives.” That’s pretty major, considering these companies were universally loved not that long ago.”
“I think I need to spend some time with safari but what arrests my attention are salient, sadomasochism, saccadic, and salad days. I think I will go learn more about coral only to learn a lot more about corollary and counterturn and coffin nail. I go from magnificence to means to marquee to maniac to distyle, ductile, hindsight, shell game, veronica, yardstick, ball field, magpie, variegated, and close shave.”
“Vann is determined to voice what we as a nation refrain from saying in the wake of these shootings. We are mostly just angry, but pretend to be in shock. We know these weapons are available just about anywhere to just about anyone and we live in a society where free speech often results in open hatred and bigotry, and where shooting up a public space has somehow become a more or less popular act of personal expression. Yet we always ask, How could this happen? We ask, and yet we already know.”
“Because we need to call the feeling one has after a great loss something, we call it “grief,” but anyone who has experienced it knows that this is just a word assigned to what is, in its shifting, horrible, massive complexity, unnameable. This book is an effort to rename this feeling. It should take at least that number of words and pages to begin to do so. One could say the entire book is a new name, the name of this emotion one can feel after such a loss.”
I tug at the pockets sticking out of my too-short cutoffs. My band has adopted a new uniform for the summer: tight t-shirts and jeans with the legs sliced off just a few inches below the crotch. We look like assholes.
“Americanah is not the first novel to document the post-Internet age, but it is among the first books I have read to make the web such a complex character. The Internet in Americanah allows community and communication across geography and time, and yet there is an underlying anxiety that pervades the space. Documenting, deconstructing, problematizing, and reimaging our current Internet-addicted society is something that old-fashioned analog books (and criticism thereof) should do. At its best, Adichie’s book does precisely this; Ifemelu lives, loves, reckons, and writes online, in emails and status updates and blog posts and comments. This is the world we live in. We need books to help us understand it, and change it. We need books to make us want to change ourselves.”