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The Thing Around Your Neck

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  22,639 ratings  ·  2,209 reviews
Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, the stories in The Thing Around Your Neck map, with Adichie's signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie burst onto the literary scene with her remarkable debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, which critics hailed as "one of the b
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Knopf
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Ifeoluwa Egbetade Hope I'm permitted to have two favourites (wink)? If yes, then I'll go for "The Shivering" and "Tomorrow is Too Far".

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4.22  · 
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 ·  22,639 ratings  ·  2,209 reviews

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Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the leading voices of African literature today. Her books Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus have won multiple awards and made her a respected writer of African issues. The Thing Around Your Neck is her first story collection, which weaves together tales of Nigerians in Africa and in the United States sharing the same hardships and love for their homeland.

The collection commences with the story of Nnamabia who is falsely accused of running with his unive
Julie Christine
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Bionic Jean
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-authors-a-b
The Thing Around Your Neck is a 2009 collection of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author who has won much acclaim for her first two novels, “Purple Hibiscus” and “Half of a Yellow Sun”. These twelve stories have all been published elsewhere at different times, but are linked in that they tell the tale of an individual life, and all feel very anecdotal. Despite the variety of lives depicted, they all also feel very personal. Adichie puts a lot of herself into her stories, r ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, africa
Shameless, brazen and lazy, I'm going to pinch the comment on the front of my edition: "Adichie makes storytelling seem as easy as birdsong."

Will that do?

I can add on some of those typical enthusiasms: stunning, exquisite, you know, you'll have used them yourself at some point.

If you weren't entirely convinced by Adichie as a novelist (I was, fairly, but maybe not quite enough), try these short stories. They have certainly convinced me that I need to catch up with the rest of her oeuvre.
Oh dea
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nigeria, women-gender
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
David Yoon
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
She's the Queen, our literary Beyonce who delivers the goods with an earlier collection of short stories. You can see here the briefest of outlines that will become Americanah later. Confidently African stories told with a measured awareness of Western sensibilities. That storyteller voice that gently leads you across the page with a sharp eye and wry line. Adichie is so adept at alluding to deeper themes with a light touch that doesn't slow down your reading.

If I'm going to quibble the stories
Emer (A Little Haze)
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of both contemporary literature and contemporary general fiction
If you ask me who my current favourite contemporary author is I will undoubtedly answer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her writing moves me like no one else's. She writes perfectly imperfect characters who I may not always like or even respect at times, but they always feel honest. She has this amazing way of capturing both the ordinary and the extraordinary with her words and making either utterly captivating to read. Without a doubt I would recommend that you go and pick up ANY of her novels and fa ...more
Peter Boyle
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
The Thing Around Your Neck is the second work of Adichie's that I've read, the first being the magnificent Americanah. This collection touches on a lot of same themes as that wonderful novel: the struggle of women in present day Nigeria, the plight of African immigrants in America. It also showcases her acute understanding of human relationships. Her stories feel important - you get the sense that you have learned something new about the world from each of them.

These vibrant, lyrical tales are a
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ is a collection of 12 stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, all of which are uniformly great, although some stronger than others. (Some of which have been previously published separately elsewhere).

As with all short stories and particularly with these, almost by definition – they lack the depth, breadth and sophistication of longer novels – in this case Adichies wonderful ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, ‘Purple Hibiscus’ and ‘Americanah’.

With the best of novels, the reader is
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
In most short story collection there are are always some stories that are better than others. Sometimes gap isn't that big (Liu's Paper menagerie and other stories, anything by Bradbury) but there are obvious favorites and weak links and there are those that involve full spectrum from bad to brilliant (any short story collection from Neil Gaiman). This is first time I read collection that I would rate every short story same. Everything is 4 stars range with no clear favorite and no clear weakest ...more
The first thing that came to Ujunwa's mind was to ask if Isabel ever needed royal blood to explain the good looks of friends back in London.
Look, I'm fully committed to rooting for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie until the Nobel Prize for Lit committee gets their collective head out of their collective ass and gives it to her (spare me the political yibble yabble. My knowing what's up hasn't killed my excitement yet, so leave me this and go ruin Santa Clause or US democracy or something of that
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a beautiful collection of short stories! This was my first book by the praised Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and now I can understand why so many people have fallen in love with her writing. Her style is so mesmerizing and touching that you’ll have no problem getting attached to her characters, no matter how flawed these people might be or how different their lives are from yours.

“I was happy when I saw your picture,” he said, smacking his lips. “You were light-skinned. I had to think ab
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up
An excellent set of short stories which concentrate mostly on the lives and experiences of Nigerian women; ranging over issues such as tragedy, political and religious violence, new relationships (especially marriage), loneliness, sadness, displacement and the many problems of post colonialism. There is plenty of social and political comment, but it is wrapped up in human stories. The stories move between Nigeria and the US; the homeland and what is seen to be the Promised La
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
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
4.25 stars.

Good Lord, this collection of short stories is beautifully written. They're all compelling. They're all full of wonderful characters. They're all incredibly full of emotion. Every single one of them felt like it could have been fleshed out into a full length novel. And all of them had such an incredible sense of place and community and the immigrant experience.

Glorious, from start to finish.
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad that the course introduced this wonderful book and skilful writer into my life.

Adichie creates symbolism in such a subtle way that I had to reread to capture what I originally missed. For example, in 'Tomorrow is too far' I feel like the tree is a symbol of the brother's power.

Also, I enjoyed reading about the contrast of living in Nigeria like in 'Cell One' where the local boys 'grown up watching Sesame Street, reading Enyd Blyton' were now 'cutting through the mosquito netting o
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was always intending to read a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book for Nigeria as part of my mini-World Cup challenge. As I want to complete all 32 books by the final, I decided to pick this short story collection.

This collection boasts twelve stunning stories fearing Nigerian characters with a mixture of their experiences in either Africa or America.
Most of the stories were around 20 pages in length, but were so well written with fascinating characters that completely hooked me to an extent that mo
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2016
A fine collection of stories which confirms Adichie is equally adept at short fiction as at the novel. Most of these stories are set in modern times, largely among Nigerian emigres in America. She can tackle serious and humorous subjects with the same light touch and apparently effortless storytelling.
Sep 02, 2018 marked it as on-hold  ·  review of another edition
I read the first three stories and I am just not getting on with this at the moment. I might come back to it at a later point.
aPriL does feral sometimes
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, literary
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
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
June 2018.

I read "The Thing Around Your Neck" four years ago and decided to do a re-read because I remember enjoying the collection a lot.

This is a collection of 12 short stories, mostly set in Lagos or is about people from Lagos who are currently living in the USA. Adichie is such a strong writer, her characters are always so well rounded and generally leaves a lasting impression. While this is a strong collection, my favorites were:
Cell One
On Mondays of Last Week
Jumping Monkey Hi
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria.

Her work has been translated into over thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which won t
“She could not complain about not having shoes when the person she was talking to had no legs.” 60 likes
“Is it a good life, Daddy?” Nkiru has taken to asking lately on the phone, with that faint, vaguely troubling American accent. It is not good or bad, I tell her, it is simply mine. And that is what matters.” 16 likes
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