Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Americanah Chapters 54-55 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 54 Summary: 

Obinze goes to Abuja alone. He wonders what Ifemelu would make of the “soulless” (560) city, and second guesses his decision to rescind his invitation. He conducts a business negotiation with Edusco, a self-made man who wants to buy land from Obinze. They barter for a while, but Obinze is distracted by the cowardice he has shown towards Ifemelu and agrees to Edusco’s price. He thinks of Ifemelu, of her clothing, her thoughts on cross-cultural relationships, and her desire to raise a polite, Nigerian child. As he boards his flight to Lagos, Kosi calls, reminding him that they are taking Nigel out for his birthday. He decides that he should never have married Kosi—“she was a literate person who did not read, she was content rather than curious about the world” (566).

At dinner with Nigel and his wife, Obinze muses on how thoroughly his Cockney coworker has adapted to Nigeria. Obinze tries to explain to Nigel that his new design for kitchens will never work in Nigeria, as Nigerian cooking does not lend itself to an open kitchen floor plan. He grows irritable, but claims he is simply coming down with malaria. That night, Kosi tries to have sex with him, wanting to give him a son, but he cannot perform. The next morning, he confesses his affair with Ifemelu to Kosi, but she stops him, not wanting to hear it. She is unconcerned and unsurprised by his affair, but refuses to hear talk of a divorce. “‘It’s not about another woman’” (572), she says. “‘It’s about keeping this family together’” (572). Obinze leaves, wracked with guilt and indecision.

That night, heattends a party with Kosi and their daughter. Obinze is miserable, thinking that “They would all die after trudging through their lives in which they were neither happy nor unhappy” (574). He debates internally whether his daughter would, as Kosi said, be ruined by a divorce. A friend of Obinze’s approaches him, wondering if he is all right. Obinze reveals his dilemma, expressing his desire to divorce Kosi and begin a life with Ifemelu. His…

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