For Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie fans, it’s been a long seven years since Americanah, her last novel, and winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. She’s been active on Instagram and it’s always a joy to revisit her catalog of beautiful writing—Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck, among them. Thanks to the pandemic, HBO’s adaptation of Americanah was unfortunately unceremoniously canceled, but Adichie and Amazon are giving us a new reason to be excited—and a much-needed bit of sunbeam thrown onto this last quarter of 2020.
“Zikora” is a 35-page short story soon to be released as part of Amazon Original Stories. When the titular character, a powerful lawyer from Nigeria living in Washington, DC, finds out she’s pregnant, her lover abandons her. The dream life she worked for speedily unraveled, she processes through the loss of her relationship at the same time her demanding mother shows up to help Zikora prepare to become a mom herself.
I sifted through my memories, as though through debris, trying to find a reason. Was it how I had told him? Was it because I said it so lightly, so playfully, that there was no question of how I felt? Did he know too, as I knew, that I was pregnant even as I was telling him that I might be? It had never occurred to me not to have the baby, and he must have heard it in my voice. The knowledge came to him as an already-sealed box.
He said so often that we had to make decisions together, and it amused me sometimes, how seriously he meant this, even for small things like which table to select when making a restaurant reservation online. “Okay babes?” he would ask, and wait for my nod. Was he recoiling because I had made this decision already? If he was going to have a child, of course he should have a say, but how much of a say, since the body was mine, since in creating a child, Nature demanded so much of the woman and so little of the man.
The full story will be available on Amazon on October 27, and Prime members and Kindle Unlimited subscribers will be able to download it for free, free, wonderful free (non-members who purchase “Zikora” can preorder and have the option to add digital audio at no additional cost). Exclusive to The Root, in addition to the excerpt above, Amazon Original Stories has gifted us an exclusive audio clip below (!!!) to build the anticipation.