I just finished Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, and it was like seeing my own experiences in a fun house mirror.
Adiche's protagonist, Ifemelu, is a Nigerian immigrant who moves to the United States to complete undergrad. The other main character, Obinze, is her boyfriend in Nigeria from High School and University, and he goes to the UK. In Ifem's telling of her story, she relates observations about race in America (a subject on which she has a blog), but more strikingly, she relates the evolution of her relationships with Nigerians here and back in Nigeria when she chooses to return.
She recounts how her experience of blackness is unique to the United States; in Nigeria, her blackness did not matter in the way it did in the States.
It's different for me, perhaps because I grew up here entirely, rather than immigrating later in life. I do not have that experience of my race not mattering somewhere. In India, I am "American" - an intangible quality that seems to glimmer just beneath my skin. I'm sure part of it is my accented Kannada (try as I might, the accent never goes away entirely) but sometimes people know where I'm from without my having to open my mouth. There is this feeling, when I'm in India, of not being "Indian enough."
Here, of course, the opposite is true. I am Indian even when I do not want to be, or when I am not able to be. I am Indian when we study India briefly in class; I was the student tasked with pronouncing Sid-dhar-ta Gau-ta-ma for the edification of my teacher (I later found out that I had pronounced it wrong - I was 11 then, and I can still feel the sting of embarrassment now). I was Indian when I sat in the cafeteria with food colored with turmeric, scented of spices from the subcontinent. I am Indian on my job applications, and I am extremely Indian when someone peers at my skin and hair, and queries "but where are you from, REALLY?"
Despite this difference, however, the way she relates relationships between those who leave and those who stay, and those who succeed, and those who do not, is striking in its clarity. While the asides from her blog, Raceteenth, often struck me as being unnecessary, or mere reflections of conversations that have already occurred, the heart of the novel manages to transcend these blurbs.