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The Thing Around Your Neck

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  6,522 ratings  ·  753 reviews
The stories in this collection from Orange-Prize winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie straddle the cultures of Nigeria and the West. Her characters battle with the responsibilities of modern life, a world in which identity is too often compromised.
Paperback, 218 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Fourth Estate (GB) (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katharine
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
Sokari
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
Maxwell
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
...more
Tea Jovanović
Zbirka priča magičnog pripovedača!
Cheryl
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
...more
Richard
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
Marieke
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
Kinga
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
...more
Alan
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
...more
aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)
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
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
...more
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!)
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."
Andrea
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.
Nicola
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
...more
Drinkthedamncocoa
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
...more
Sandhya
http://www.sandyi.blogspot.com/

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
...more
Crystal
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
Madeleine
Normally short stories are not my thing...it takes a while for me to build up interest in what I'm reading, and that generally happens around the moment the short story ends. Adichie is awesome though so this is the exception to the rule.
Miranda
I was very pleasantly surprised by this collection of short stories as I'm not a big fan of the short story normally. I confess I wasn't enjoying this so much in the beginning, but having finished them all now and given myself time between the stories to mull over them, I can appreciate the depth and intricacies of the stories. There's nothing superfluous in her language, and you are absorbed into the characters and their world in a short space of time in a way that feels incredibly intimate. I ...more
Sanhita
I loved Chimamanda's The Purple Hibiscus. So when my daughter brought this book, I picked it up for reading immediately. It's a collection of twelve short stories, all are based in the troubled times and lives of people in Nigeria. With her powerful yet subtle descriptions of day to day life, she brings out the much larger picture of the disturbed times.
My favourite three stories were Jumping Monkey Hill, Ghosts and A Private Experience.
The struggle of the people to live by their traditions whi
...more
Sha
Many years ago, seated atop a lush green mountain as part of an office picnic, my friend Carlos had said to me “Books are a good reason to continue living”. Now, Carlos was a singular individual. Without having left the confines of his country any time during his lifetime he had traveled the world through books. With such affluent finesse he would speak of the different tribes in the Middle East and the grass root issues that hounded them under the arid sun. He would educate us about the peculia ...more
t.obia
Am always fascinated by Adichie novels with their deeply anecdotal explorations into characters and the personal introspective revelations she offers freely to the reader, but lately have been searching for more abridged forms of storytelling -- not specific to her writings, to be sure, but in general. Upon watching her TED presentation essay on "The Single Story," I was most curious to explore her slightly non-fictional take on short story writing and with THE THING AROUND YOUR NECK Adichie del ...more
Malcolm
It is much more likely that I will describe an author of fiction as a good writer, rather than a storyteller – being a storyteller is much higher praise. All three of Adichie’s books have marked her as a fabulous storyteller – in this case of people who are out of place, dislocated by migration, by colonisation or by some other shift in status; all that is except for the nameless young woman being talked about in the penultimate story ‘Tomorrow Is Too Far’, a slightly disturbing tale of deceptio ...more
Allison
I am not one to usually read a lot of short stories, though when I do I enjoy them. I like the way I can get lost in a good, long, novel for days at a time, really getting to know the characters. But I decided to read this book of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because her novel, Half a Yellow Sun has been haunting me since I read it over a year a go.

I have to say, this book was just as beautiful and haunting. The stories grabbed me right away and each ending left me much to think ab
...more
Jennifer
This collection of 12 stories is stunning. Adichie is a great storyteller and these stories are both wonderful on their own and something unique and powerful as a whole. Individually the stories deal with the experiences of Nigerians, in Africa and in America. They are all sad, I think, and many deal with the difficult experience of life in America.

But the stories are told such varying points of view (man, woman, child, wealthy person, student, academic, poor person) and set in Africa, in Ameri
...more
Babydoll
After familiarizing myself with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s literary works, I found it appropriate to read her most current publication, The Thing Around Your Neck. I did not approach this book, which consists of a collection of short stories, with the same exuberance that I had when reading her first two published novels. This is likely because I do not prefer to read short stories. However, in doing so, I assessed this volume with a sense of admiration for Adichie’s exceptional literary prose. ...more
Maythee
This is a wonderful book. Adichie is an excellent writer in that she is able to develop very individualized characters that escape generalized portrayals (e.g., the woman bound to an arranged marriage, the asylum seeker, the social justice activist, etc). She also produces a variety of motivation, attitude and approach in her characters. They move you -- even as you might not always agree with them. Even in her supporting characters, she produces types that you can remember knowing without ever ...more
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian-American 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 Un
...more
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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