Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘My Madness Will Now Bare Itself’

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By Sarah Broom

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

June 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of my father’s death. In the months leading up to then I’d plotted ritualistic ways I might mark such loss. But by the time the anniversary arrived, more than 380,000 were dead from Covid. That grief of mine, no longer singular, was subsumed in the collective wail. That is, until Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s visceral exploration of her own father’s unexpected death that month. In 30 short sections, “Notes on Grief” lays a path by which we might mourn our individual traumas among the aggregate suffering of this harrowing time. Our guide, Adichie, is uncloaked, full of “wretched, roaring rage,” teaching us within the space of this work how to gather our disparate selves and navigate the still-raging pandemic. In doing this, she tells a global story of this moment, while mapping how her writerly voice, in particular, came to be.

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