• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Zikora: A journey to motherhood


Once again, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian multiple award-winning writer, is out with another bestseller book. Yet again, the bestseller author is trailing the epic journey and emotional storms weathered by women with her new book.

Aptly entitled Zikora, which literally means ‘gather the crowd’ in Igbo language, the short story takes readers and lovers of modern literature into a woman’s tumultuous journey to motherhood, amid relatable life scenes.

Released on October 27, 2020 with Amazon Publishing’s imprint called Amazon Original Stories, Zikora is the debut of Adichie’s first work of fiction since the 2013 release of Americanah. The short story explores the challenges Black mothers face in the United States of America, which includes a disproportionately high mortality rate, as well as, the quandary of being a working mother.

The storyline queries what happens when the life one imagined for oneself is quickly, and urgently, eclipsed by the life she has and the life that is on its way.

It takes readers to the world of Zikora, a Nigerian lawyer living in Washington D.C, who is grappling not only with pregnancy but also with the loss of her relationship; while her demanding mother shows up to “help” prepare her for motherhood.

However, when the 37-year old lawyer tells her equally high-powered lover that she is pregnant, he abandons her. But Zikora’s demanding and self-possessed mother visits for the birth and makes Zikora feel like a lonely little girl all over again. Stunned by the speed with which her ideal life fell apart, she turns to reflect on her mother’s painful past and struggle for dignity. Preparing for motherhood, Zikora begins to see more clearly what her own mother wants for her, for her new baby, and for herself.

The uniqueness of the new work is that while reading it, you easily get into the life and feelings of the main character. Moreover, the new book is just 41-page long, but you will finish it with a sense of having read something far longer and much bigger because of the creative ingenuity, unique power of description, use of appropriate diction, as well as, relatable life stories that abound in it.

“It nearly made me cry when relating to it as a woman and seeing some vague, underlying similarities in my own life, and how different life can be in other countries, especially as a woman”, a reader confessed.

The short story is also unique because Adichie desired to publish it ahead of the US election on November 3, 2020, hence it was published by Amazon instead of Penguin Random House, which published Americanah, Half of a Yellow Sun, and many other writings that have made her one of the most commanding and celebrated voices in literature today.

According to Kjersti Egerdahl, senior editor, Amazon Original Stories, Adichie was eager to make sure the short story joined the cultural conversation ahead of the US election, a few days from today. “So, our ability to stay nimble and publish with high speed and high quality played a role”, Egerdahl explained.

Adichie, whose first novel, Purple Hibiscus was published when she was only 26, has won a string of awards for her bestselling novels about the complexities of African and African-American culture, and continues to write widely on feminism and sexism, which she has previously said makes her even angrier than racism. In Zikora, she has produced a terrific, brave story, beautifully written in taut, clear prose, that lays bare the many injustices women, especially black women still face, often at the hands of black patriarchy.

She is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Purple Hibiscus; Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction; Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year; The Thing Around Your Neck; We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.