Notes on Grief

Knopf. May 2021. 80p. ISBN 9780593320808. $16. SOC SCI
With this latest work, Adichie (Americanah; We Should All Be Feminists) offers a brief but deeply poignant meditation on the sensations of grief and the way the COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated mourning. Adichie unexpectedly lost her beloved father, James Nwoye Adichie, in the early days of 2020. This slim volume describes her feelings of disillusionment, disappointment, and heartbreak, with a quiet, articulate account of the events after his death. As a celebration of her father’s life, the narrative is also a compelling and poignant ode to their relationship. While there is deep sadness in each brief chapter, there is also comfort in how accurately Adichie captures the tense and overwhelming times that follow shortly after a loss. Adichie shares how she struggled with grieving from a distance (she lives in the United States, far from her father in Nigeria), and how the world seemed to move on while she felt stuck in place.
VERDICT A worthwhile mediation on coming to terms with grief. Especially as we continue to reckon with loss, this reflective account will be valuable to the many people unexpectedly grieving from afar.
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