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The Thing Around Your Neck

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  7,846 ratings  ·  897 reviews
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie burst onto the literary scene with her remarkable debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, which critics hailed as “one of the best novels to come out of Africa in years” (Baltimore Sun), with “prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes” (The Boston Globe); The Washington Post called her “the twenty-first-century daughter of Chinua Ache ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Knopf (first published 2009)
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Blood River by Tim ButcherThings Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
40th out of 1,084 books — 1,078 voters
Things Fall Apart by Chinua AchebePurple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Famished Road by Ben Okri
Books by Nigerian Authors
4th out of 100 books — 74 voters

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Community Reviews

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Only because I am reading alphabetically through my library's fiction shelves, did I this book up. My self-imposed rules are that I don't read any back covers or inside flaps, I just read the first 50 pages and then decide if the book is worth finishing. Had I read the back flap, my silly prejudices would have forced me to put it down and pick up, instead, a silly rom-com. I am a white, WASP, 44 year old, egocentric American with an average education and little travel experience, it would never ...more
Several years ago, Jhumpa Lahiri entranced me with her stories of the sorrows, hopes and realities of being an immigrant in the United States. Through her characters, she showed how it felt to be pushed away from your own country by oppression and poverty into another that so often treated you like a shadow.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 2009 collection That Thing Around Your Neck offers stories with these same themes, written with the same grace and power. Unlike Lahiri, however—whom I discovered
What an excellent set of short stories exploring the human condition with all its flaws and neurosis. Adichie addresses the institution of marriage - arranged marriage, infidelity; same sex desire, sibling rivalry and the consequences of subordinating female children; she then intersects these with immigration and migration and interracial relationships. Each story is complete yet you feel it could also form the basis for a longer novel. Unlike many young Nigerian writers Adichie's language is u ...more
I fell in love with Adichie's work after reading her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, around a year ago. She has a way of creating extremely well-developed characters that are vivid and flawed. She doesn't shy away from the darker sides of humanity, but all along she reminds you that there is hope and joy to be found even in little things.

Each of these stories was incredibly immersive. I felt like the characters could've been contained in full-length novels, rather than in just 20 or so pages
Tea Jovanović
Zbirka priča magičnog pripovedača!
I'm so thrilled that before he left this earth, Chinua Achebe blessed West Africa with a younger version of his literary self. Of her first three pieces:( Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun included) this Adichie collection seems to really highlight Achebe's influence and this is a thrilling thing to see.

Compelling and witty characters, revelatory stories, and just the right amount of sensory elements to help me visualize--just how I like my short stories. Then again, Chimamanda Adichie is
I can barely begin to explain the catharsis of reading Adichie's prose. In particular, I am captivated by the way her stories respond to the expectations of "ethnic fiction" and "African fiction," as genres full of Third-world starvation and refugees. She deftly handles subjectivities of black African positionality, facets of identity which the market would slam as "inauthentic," or "not African enough." Her stories are delightfully astute, her characters cracking the lenses by which one might e ...more
I'm not typically a short story reader, especially in collections like this. But having read both of Adichie's novels (and loved them), i was curious to see how i would fare with her stories. I decided to read one per day during my lunch break, and after two days i was looking forward each day to the next story. Normally when reading a novel i look forward to finding out what happens next. My experience in the past with short stories is that i have struggled to read back-to-back stories by the s ...more
I think Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is my more famous Nigerian alter-ego. These stories might not be literary perfect but they completely match my sensibilities. They touch on the same themes that haunt me and my sad attempts at writing - disappointment, self-consciousness, the immigrant experience on the very personal, intimate level.

Each story meant something to me and it would be hard for me to find the one that was my least favourite. I loved those that described the cultural foundation as sha
These, by now, are familiar stories of immigrants to America adjusting to a clash of cultures, which exposes faults on both sides and tests relationships. Lahiri springs to mind, Mukherjee, or Le Thi Diem Thuy, but Adichie lacks Lahiri's subtlety and power and the latter's poetic wonder.

The stories set wholly in Africa detailing close scrapes with civil war/unrest in Nigeria, or its prison system or, eg, a queue outside the American embassy in Lagos studiously ignoring the 'soldier flogging a b
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has that rare ability to portray the contradictions of the human condition. Over and over again, she returns to themes of exile, homesickness, and alienation. In the title story, the young narrator gains a prized American visa and goes to her uncle’s home in Maine. “They spoke Igbo and ate garri for lunch and it was like home until your uncle came into the cramped basement where you slept and pulled you forcefully to him…” recalls the barely-adult girl.

Again, in Arrange
Adichie explores effect of politics, social changes, consumerism, familial conflicts, Africa as a unit vs. Africa as seen by outside world, alienation in a foreign land, cultural diversity, ethnicity within the borders, moving to America for a better future, etc. She uses these themes to expose humanity in sometimes gut wrenching and mostly realistic depiction of people. She is a great observer of life and people around her.

"Cell One" is story of a handsome college student from a respectable
Patrick O'Neil
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes of displacement. Of loss, of dysphoria, and of strange new begins for disseminated people in strange lands - which is some instances is their own country. She has the uncomfortableness of it all down to a science. She brings in the familiar, she talks of the past. She has concise images of family, friends, and former lives newly forgotten and traded away for the future. America seems to play the reluctant role of redemption, although it is always with a price. Goi ...more
David Dacosta

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s writing is polished and self-assured. Her story execution leaves much to be desired, though. The collection is a mixed bag. Adichie seems determined to create the impression that Nigerian immigrants are typically university educated, as if the notion of an African man or woman without a degree seeking a better life abroad is somehow an oversimplified concept. This fixation with status and superficiality soon becomes a dominate theme.

It’s impossible to read The Thing A
aPriL does feral sometimes
Astonishing. In 12 short stories this accomplished Nigerian writer, using her experience and knowledge of Nigerian history and culture as her prism, skillfully encompasses the entirety of being human in a world where how one relates to people can determine happiness or success. Some of the stories are placed in Nigeria, and the authentic detail is marvelous, and some of the stories are of Nigerian immigrants living uneasily in America, uncertain of acceptance by neighbors and employers, while st ...more
Really, really enjoyed this book. I'm not usually one for short stories, but since reading Americanah, I have been a huge fan of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her storytelling abilities and the way that she connects women and men, family and strangers, parents and children, and Nigeria and the United States are incredible. She has an innate ability to craft stories that are gripping, eye-opening, compelling.

So, I decided to pick up The Thing Around Your Neck. The characters, even for the few pages
Elli (The Bibliophile)
Really good collection of short stories. All of the stories dealt with Nigerian characters, many of them immigrants to the United States, and their experiences both in and out of Nigeria. Adichie's writing is simple, but very nice to read. I'm very happy to have read this collection, but am now sad that I've read all of her books and that there's nothing left! I look forward to her next published book (hopefully it is soon!)
Alice Lippart
A beautiful and honest collection. Utterly fascinating.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The stories set in Nigeria demonstrate the clash and confusion of war infiltrating a society where it simply doesn't make sense. The stories set in the United States reflect another clash, of the cultural differences and what Nigerian expatriates go through as they try to acclimate to "American culture" from various perspectives and intentions. At the heart of everything is relationship, and my favorite stories were less global and more personal, like "The Shivering" and "Tomorrow is Too Far."
Danika at The Lesbrary
This was so good. More of a 4.5 than 4. There was one story where I had to put the book down and walk it off just to process it. Definitely one that I will be coming back to, and I'll be reading her other books as well. (Also, surprise queer content! Always appreciated.)
Opinião completa no blog BUÉ DE LIVROS em A coisa à volta do teu pescoço

A coisa à volta do teu pescoço é um livro de contos, onde a autora divide as suas histórias entre os subúrbios da Nigéria e os bairros norte-americanos onde os imigrantes nigerianos tentam viver a versão (possível) do "american dream", arrancadas à tradição africana e lançadas numa modernidade que as mesmas teimam em não aceitar inicialmente.

A escrita de Chimamanda é quente e emotiva. Cada conto (são 12) é um pedaço de vida
Nancy Burns
I was late coming to the party...
but finally have discovered the critically acclaimed young Nigerian author.


My review:
I am not fond of short stories. I picked this book up at the library thinking it was a novel. Upon starting the second story in the book, which I thought was a chapter, I was confused as to how the characters would meet up or relate, as one was in Nigeria and the other in Philadelphia. OK, then I figured it out. I kept reading. Now I remember why I don't like short stories; I became so invested in the characters after just a few skillfully crafted pages by Adichie, that I was let down when at th ...more
Adichie has been called the heir to Chinua Achebe, and these short stories are more evidence of her extraordinary talent. Each story relates to the general theme of displacement and personal change. What makes the stories special, (and surprising, given her previous works were novels), is her mastery of the short story form. Each story creates complete, rounded characters who grow and change and a plot which holds the attention up to the end. The endings feel satisfyingly complete and yet leave ...more
Dr. Sharada
Excellent. I love a good short story and these were all great. Even in such a short number of pages, Adichie manages to construct characters with depth whose stories draw the reader in.
Cell One: 4/5 stars. An interesting little story about cults taking over a town. The narrator's brother gets into some trouble and ends up in jail. Adichie's writing is fluid and lovely to read, and I also liked the side story of the old man locked up instead of his son.

Imitation: 4/5 stars. This one was interesting. Once again, Adichie's writing style makes the story a pleasure to read. Imitation focuses on a Nigerian woman living in America. She has just discovered that her husband has anothe
Adichie's gift in story-telling is nothing short of pure art and genius. Each story flowed smoothly like silk and I found myself literally unable to put it down, even when walking on the pavement.

A lot of critics have touched upon the middle class/university educated/diaspora themes that admittedly run in practically every single story. However, I would say that Adichie is a writer that writes what she knows about. It is clear that her own personal experiences have influenced her stories. But I

My initiation into African literature started with Ama Ata Aidoo’s No Sweetness Here, a raw, deeply poignant collection of short stories that spoke of a land reeling under the after-effects of colonial rule and a population tormented by its past and inability to recogonise itself.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's new book, The Thing Around Your Neck, again a collection of short stories about Nigeria, comes almost 40 years after No Sweetness Here. And yet, much like Ama At
When I read Half of a Yellow Sun, I was impressed, but not floored. The whole thing seemed to ramble a bit, to suffer under its own weight.

Then I picked up The Thing Around Your Neck. These are brilliant, drum-tight short stories that seem almost effortless in their simplicity and erudition. While I firmly believe that Jhumpa Lahiri has set the standard for the modern, realist short story, these come damn close. Not a weak link in the collection, either.
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author. Her best known novels are Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013).

She was born in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At nineteen, Chimamanda left for the U.S. to study communication at Drexel Universit
More about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie...
Americanah Half of a Yellow Sun Purple Hibiscus We Should All Be Feminists Half of a Yellow Sun / Americanah / Purple Hibiscus

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