Sarah M. Broom, writer for the New York Times, released an article discussing the nonfiction book that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote to discuss the death of her father and the mourning that followed. In Adichie’s 30-section exploration Notes on Grief, she focuses on four particular days–one being the day where she sees her father on a Zoom call, tired but happen, and then three days after that, where her brother calls her so that she can see her father in his last moments.
Broom cites one particular line from Adichie that best describes the limitations of expressing one’s grief through words: “You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language.” And really, the only person who can best describe Adichie’s grief is Adichie herself, which is why her book, originally published as an essay, is so important. Adichie goes on to state, “How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, and frightening that it does not quite.” And there are points, according to Broom, in Adichie’s text where she abstains from cleaning up the writing so that her emotions and her grief are all the more poignant.
Through Adichie’s book, we learn more about her father, James Nwoye Adichie, the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Nigeria in the 1980’s and the first professor of statistics. We see that he does sudoku and naps, and we also learn that, even when he was kidnapped and held captive, he was correcting his captors’ pronunciation of his daughter’s name. Readers can read Adichie recalling how her father read everything that she wrote, and so, so much more about her father and her relationship with him.
To read more about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book, check out the New York Times article here.
To preorder Notes on Grief, check out the book’s Amazon page.