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Notes on Grief

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Notes on Grief is an exquisite work of meditation, remembrance, and hope, written in the wake of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's beloved father’s death in the summer of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged around the world, and kept Adichie and her family members separated from one another, her father succumbed unexpectedly to complications of kidney failure.

Expanding on her original New Yorker piece, Adichie shares how this loss shook her to her core. She writes about being one of the millions of people grieving this year; about the familial and cultural dimensions of grief and also about the loneliness and anger that are unavoidable in it. With signature precision of language, and glittering, devastating detail on the page--and never without touches of rich, honest humor--Adichie weaves together her own experience of her father’s death with threads of his life story, from his remarkable survival during the Biafran war, through a long career as a statistics professor, into the days of the pandemic in which he’d stay connected with his children and grandchildren over video chat from the family home in Abba, Nigeria. In the compact format of We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, Adichie delivers a gem of a book--a book that fundamentally connects us to one another as it probes one of the most universal human experiences. Notes on Grief is a book for this moment—a work readers will treasure and share now more than ever--and yet will prove durable and timeless, an indispensable addition to Adichie's canon.

86 pages, Hardcover

First published May 11, 2021

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About the author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

123 books39.2k followers
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 the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book; and Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013. Ms. Adichie is also the author of the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck.

Ms. Adichie has been invited to speak around the world. Her 2009 TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, is now one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time. Her 2012 talk We Should All Be Feminists has a started a worldwide conversation about feminism, and was published as a book in 2014.

Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017.

A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Ms. Adichie divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

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5 stars
11,445 (44%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,462 reviews
Profile Image for Ilse.
456 reviews2,949 followers
June 8, 2022
Never again

Never again. It feels as if I wake up only to sink and sink. In those moments, I am sure I do not ever want to face the world again.

Grief because of the loss of a loved one can be an overwhelming experience – one of the few that perhaps rightly might be classified as universal, as an experience most of us will go through if we are so fortunate not to die that young ourselves that we will not have to mourn the loss of someone dear.

Grief can render one speechless, hopelessly at loss for words while thirsting for them to make sense of the experience and the emotions as well as to hold on to and honour the life of that unique human being so dearly loved which cruelly ended – always too soon, a life always too short. Maybe it is this yearning for words that prompts to read testimonies on loss and grieving from those one can rely on to be more eloquent, even if such is painful and unsettling – and even if such means the cold comfort of learning that the struggle to find words is a common experience:

You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language.

At the time of reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story Zikora, a friend pointed me to Notes on grief, the compact piece Adichie wrote at the death of her father. I read it in one sitting in the café of the local library. Quite a few of her reflections rang familiar, her raw and astute evocation of the oppressive and substantial nature of grief, the intensity and inescapability of it, the rancorous disbelief, the wry sense of injustice reminiscent of W.H. Auden’s poem Stop all the clocks: How is it that the world keeps going, breathing in and out unchanged, while in my soul there is a permanent scattering?

Adichie not only focusses on and dissects the impact of the loss on herself and her family (including illustrating how the Covid restrictions imposing distance and causing delays for funerals in Nigeria complicated things). Her words also create an endearing homage to her so loved and venerated father, turning her testimony into a moving and life-affirming eulogy commemorating his humour and personality.

Finding relatable feelings articulated with Adichie’s stunning precision is a peculiar, soothing balm:

The weight is heaviest in the mornings, post-sleep: a leaden heart, a stubborn reality that refuses to budge.

Not finding the right words, not to express one’s own feelings, not having them at hand to offer a friend or relative grieving (it is not because there are no words that can bring any succor that one can remain silent) is not unusual when confronted with loss. I can imagine that referring to Adichie’s thoughts in this book can lead to the beginning of an answer when one is asked that seemingly so simple but so hard to answer well-meaning question when dealing with grief, ‘how are you?’

‘Never' has come to say. 'Never' feels so unfairly punitive. For the rest of my life, I will live with my hands outstretched for things that are no longer there.

(Photographs by Hanayo)
(*** 1/2)
Profile Image for Nelly.
321 reviews7 followers
May 15, 2021
I didn't plan on reading this today but what started with me planning to read a few pages just to get a feel of it, ended up with me reading it to the end and how timely because tomorrow would have been my late young sister's 28th birthday.

I've learned that grief from the death of a loved one just never goes away, never really heals. Even if life returns to a semblance of normal, the grief is always there, just under the surface, ready to burst out at any slight trigger.

There's so much that CNA wrote here that echo the thoughts I had in those days, weeks, months after my sister died; showing how grief affects us in similar ways but even with all that, we all grieve differently.

I can tell this wasn't easy for CNA to write but reading this has made me realize, maybe...just maybe I should start writing about my sister. The way she wrote of her father makes me want to write down the stories of my sister's life so I can read them on a bad day and remember that yeah, it was all real. It was years ago and sometimes it feels like a dream but it was real.

I'm grateful to CNA for sharing this with us. For sharing her father's life with us. May He Rest In Peace.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,005 reviews36k followers
July 14, 2021
Adichie’s father taught her valuable life lessons— was respectful of her boundaries — left her many years of great memories—
…He was a defender of spouse…was the first to champion his wife’s accomplishments.
…His humor was exceptional
…He listened beautifully …
…His pride of Chimamanda mattered to her more than anyone else’s.
…Chimamanda not only admired her father so very much, as a daddy‘s girl, but she actually ‘liked’ him —
so much he was her favorite person to hang out with.
… she liked his strength, his humbleness, his integrity, his faith, his sense of duty and responsibility to do good,
A Beautiful book …
about grief for the father she loved —deeply loved!! Died too soon.
…Laughter that Chimamanda had with her dad —she will never have again….
…Her admiration, appreciation, and ability to feel grief- because she loved her father so much….was a sad but treasured gift.
Adichie knew her life was changed forever….but she was also aware that she could not have felt the depths of grief had she not loved him as deeply as she did.

He died in 2020 - at age 88
My dad died in 1956 - at the age 34.
I was 4. I adored my father too.
I understand that some things never return to normal after the loss of a parent (at any age).

“Grief is not about the possibility of return”.
I understand this at a very deep level.

This is a profoundly beautiful intimate and poignant memoir.

Thank you for writing it Chimamanda.
Profile Image for Bel Rodrigues.
Author 2 books19.3k followers
December 1, 2021
"outra revelação: o quanto o riso faz parte do luto. o riso está profundamente entranhado no linguajar da nossa família, e nós agora rimos ao lembrar do meu pai, mas em algum lugar por trás desse riso existe uma névoa de incredulidade. o riso vai se apagando. o riso se transforma em choro, que se transforma em tristeza, que se transforma em raiva. estou despreparada para a raiva descomunal e avassaladora que sinto. sinto-me inexperiente e imatura diante desse inferno que é a tristeza."

eu não consigo nem falar nada além disso aqui.
Profile Image for Jaidee.
581 reviews1,107 followers
August 27, 2021
4 "dear, loving" stars !

A lovely short tribute to a father and a daughter's experience of acute grief.

I do not have much to say except that the prose was simple, loving, respectful and reads like a very polished grief diary.

My condolences to the entire family and you were blessed to have such a wonderful patriarch.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,123 reviews30.2k followers
December 3, 2022
In the days immediately following my beloved dad’s death, I found this slim novella on my shelves. When I couldn’t focus to read anything else, I was absorbed. As I ran out of vocabulary to describe the pain, I found insight here and new ways to describe the ache lying deep in my core.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie lost her father suddenly in 2020, and as a writer often does, she picked up her pen to help release some of the anguish. Her raw and affirming prose left me feeling seen and understood.

It goes without saying I highly recommend Notes on Grief to anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent. Thank goodness for authors who gift us with words when we are stricken and bereft with none.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Mohamed Al.
Author 2 books4,823 followers
November 12, 2021
هل تعرفون الشعور الذي ينتابكم حينما تشرعون في قراءة كتاب ما ويدفعكم للاستمرار في القراءة. على عكس هذا الشعور، كنت أشعر برغبة حقيقية في أن أتوقف عن قراءة هذا الكتاب، لأنني أحسست بأن هناك غصة تخنقني وأنا أقرأه. السبب الآخر هو أنني أعتقد بأن تشيماماندا لم تكتب الكتاب للآخرين بقدر ما كانت تكتبه لنفسها، وتحاول من خلاله -ومن خلال الكتابة- أن تتعامل مع حزنها الشخصي.

ولكنني مع ذلك لم أتوقف عن القراءة وأنهيت الكتاب في جلسة واحدة، ربما لأنني - كالكثير من البشر - نحب تعذيب أنفسنا، وربما لأنني - كالكثير من البشر أيضًا - نحب التلصص على الآخرين ورؤية كيف يتعاملون مع مآسيهم.

هذا الكتاب أكد لي بأن الفقد، وما يولده من حزن، تجربة مفرطة في الأنانية، فنحن عندما نحزن على رحيل شخص ما لا نحزن عليه في الحقيقة بقدر حزننا على أنفسنا .. بعده. نحزن لأن شيئًا كنا نملكه، شيئًا كان لنا، شيئًا كان يعيش في داخلنا .. اختفى فجأة.

أعتقد بأن من فقد شخصًا عزيزًا عليه سيجد نفسه في هذا الكتاب، وقد يعتقد أن تشيماماندا إذ تكتب عن تجربتها مع رحيل والدها، تصف أيضًا تجاربنا مع رحيل أحبتنا وكأنها كانت حاضرة معنا لحظة رحيلهم عنا.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,292 reviews2,287 followers
August 1, 2022
The book is exactly what the title says.

As a constant reader of the author's work for the past few years, I would say this book does what the author does best. Non-fiction writing at its finest.

What made the reading more engrossing and understandable are the short chapters, easygoing language, anecdotes and emotions that are described the way everyone can feel at the moment.

The book made me tear up at many parts. However, I wasn't expecting much of some other events that occurred in this short read. It felt like they made it look like the book about something else.

The book's main highlight is the description of the close family bonds and the father-daughter love. Also, due to the current pandemic situation, how families struggle to attend funerals is being highlighted in this book. I feel that's the ultimate heartbreaking part.

Please pick up this book only when you are prepared to read about loss and grief.
Profile Image for Amina.
373 reviews135 followers
February 11, 2023
I get this book.

I didn't think I would get it this much.

I too lost my father, 11 years ago, but not so suddenly. The loss of a parent can be one of the hardest experiences of one’s life.

When Adichie talks about the world continuing to move but that no one is able to feel her soul drifting away in the grief, I understood her.

Grief was the celebration of love, those who could feel real grief were lucky to have loved

Her words are empowering and expressive.

I am writing about my father in the past tense, and I can't believe I am writing about my father in the past tense

I love that she revels in the remembrance of all that her father was, and everything he embodied.

I am faintly aware that this book may be triggering for some . I found it to be deeply personal, raw, and honest.

Grief is a cruel kind of education. You learn how ungentle mourning can be...you learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language, and the grasping for language

5 solid stars.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,603 reviews2,575 followers
November 28, 2022
This slim hardback is an expanded version of an essay Adichie published in the New Yorker in the wake of her father’s death in June 2020. With her large family split across three continents and coronavirus lockdown precluding in-person get-togethers, they had a habit of frequent video calls. She had seen her father the day before on Zoom and knew he was feeling unwell and in need of rest, but the news of his death still came as a complete shock.

Adichie anticipates all the unhelpful platitudes people could and did send her way: he lived to a ripe old age (he was 88), he had a full life and was well respected (he was Nigeria’s first statistics professor), he had a mercifully swift end (kidney failure). Her logical mind knows all of these facts, and her writer’s imagination has depicted grief many times. Still, this loss blindsided her.

She’d always been a daddy’s girl, but the anecdotes she tells confirm how special he was: wise and unassuming; a liberal Catholic suspicious of materialism and with a dry humour. I marvelled at one such story: in 2015 he was kidnapped and held in the boot of a car for three days, his captors demanding a ransom from his famous daughter. What did he do? Correct their pronunciation of her name, and contradict them when they said that clearly his children didn’t love him. “Grief has, as one of its many egregious components, the onset of doubt. No, I am not imagining it. Yes, my father truly was lovely.” With her love of fashion, one way she dealt with her grief was by designing T-shirts with her father’s initials and the Igbo words for “her father’s daughter” on them.

I’ve read many a full-length bereavement memoir, and one might think there’s nothing new to say, but Adichie writes with a novelist’s eye for telling details and individual personalities. She has rapidly become one of my favourite authors: I binged on most of her oeuvre last year and now have just one more to read, Purple Hibiscus, which will be one of my 20 Books of Summer. I love her richly evocative prose and compassionate outlook, no matter the subject. At £10, this 85-pager is pricey, but I was lucky to get it free with Waterstones loyalty points.

Favourite lines:

“In the face of this inferno that is sorrow, I am callow and unformed.”

“How is it that the world keeps going, breathing in and out unchanged, while in my soul there is a permanent scattering?”
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
4,923 reviews684 followers
April 18, 2023
One of the best books I have read this year - ranks up there with The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis and Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. Pain is so overwhelming, so often we just want to hide from it, but it always finds us. We all have to confront pain; this book is one of the best ways to go about preparing for that inevitable confrontation - highest recommendation.
Profile Image for Kerri.
980 reviews351 followers
June 24, 2021
It feels strange to 'review' something so intensely personal, so I'll keep it brief. In Notes on Grief Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie both captures her intense grief about her father's death, and also writes a beautiful tribute to the man she has lost. It's a slim volume, my copy having 88 pages, but it contains so much and I expect it is one I will be glad to have in my book collection, knowing I can revisit it whenever I feel the need.
Profile Image for Ahmed.
911 reviews7,390 followers
November 17, 2021
كتاب فاتن، مؤلم، يقطر حزنا وصدقا، وتشيماماندا أديبة أريبة، تعرف كيف تحزن وكيف تكتب حزنها، مرثية الوالد المؤثر، مع إجراءات العزل والكورونا لم تستطع السفر للبكاء على جسده فبكت بدموعها على الورق نَص شديد الشاعرية والعذوبة ودافيء رغم قسوته أحيانا، لأن الرحيل يحمل قسوته الضرورية كما الغياب.
كتاب شديد الجمال، وترجمته متقنة جدا وبليغة.
Profile Image for Stephanie Arellano.
35 reviews97 followers
April 17, 2021
“La pena era una celebración del amor, quienes sentían auténtica pena habían tenido la suerte de amar”.
Profile Image for María Francisca Valenzuela.
44 reviews31 followers
April 17, 2021
Hace una semana, un accidente se llevó a mi papá. Es muy poco el tiempo que ha pasado, y este libro se cruzó conmigo justo cuando empezaba a sentir que no estoy procesando todo esto como se debe.
Hubo párrafos donde me vi tentada a iniciar un diálogo. La autora describiendo a su padre, y yo al mío. Poniendo en evidencia cuán increíbles fueron, o cómo sus palabras, acciones y formas de ser, nos formaron también a nosotras.
El día que fui al parque a organizar su entierro, la encargada me pidió que le describiera. Y aunque las palabras se amontonaban en mi cabeza, fue la idea de tener que describirlo en pasado la que irrumpió en mi garganta y se me escapó sólo un llanto desgarrador. A la autora le sucedió algo similar. Supongo que la pérdida de un padre, independiente de la forma o el lugar en el que ocurra, será siempre difícil.
Hoy leyendo este libro, cortito, conciso y tan humano como la experiencia de perder a alguien tan amado, encontré un poco de calma y pude dar orden a todas esas palabras que fui incapaz de decir en el funeral de mi viejito.

A todos ustedes que han tenido una pérdida, sobre todo en medio de esta horrible pandemia, les envío un abrazo a la distancia. La fuerza para poder encontrar las palabras y darles un sentido, y mucha entereza para aceptar que de ahora en más, todo será en tiempo pasado.
Profile Image for Mohamed Khaled Sharif.
771 reviews874 followers
December 24, 2022

"الحزن ليس شفافاً، بل مادي، مُستبد، شيء مُبهم. "

عندما قرأت عن الكتاب قبل أن أقرأه، سـألت نفسي: أيعقل أن تلك التجربة المريرة التي جعلت الخوف والربكة يتملكوا كُل جسدي مر بها شخص في أرض الواقع فعلاً؟ بل وكتب عنها؟ لا بُد أن أقرأ هذا الذي كنت أتمنى أن لا أمر به، هذا الذي دعوت الله كثيراً أن يُجنبي إياه.

دعني أحكي لك قصة حقيقية قد لا تخصك ولا تُهمك في شيء، ولكن وجب توثيقها، على الأقل بالنسبة لي. مع بدايات جائحة كورونا، وانتقالي من بلد إلى آخر وفُراق والدي لأول مرة منذ حوالي رُبع قرن. حدث ذلك التتبع الغريب والمآسأوي بغلق مطارات الدول، لمنع تفشي تلك الجائحة التي فتكت بالعديدين، وأثقلت كاهلنا باشتراطات صحية، وإلتزامات وتدابير وقائية، وحتى لحظات كتابة هذه السطور لا زلنا كالراقص على الدرج، لا نعرف هل مرينا من هذه الأزمة الكئيبة؟ أم ما زال هُناك متحور جديد ينتظرنا في الأفق ليفعل تلك الفعلة الشنيعة مرة أخرى. ألا وهي جلوسنا بالمنزل مرة أخرى، الحجر والحظر. في حالتي، وجدت نفسي بعد شهر واحد من انتقالي أجلس في مسكني، لاشتراطات الكورونا وتبعاتها. في البداية، تملكتني تلك اللذة المُصابحة للاجازة المفروضة على الكُل، وذلك يعني بالطبع نوماً كثير، وقراءة أكثر، وبالفعل عام 2020 من أكثر الأعوام المحورية بالنسبة لي على مستوى القراءة ولذلك حديث آخر.

وفي أحد أيام الحظر، وبالتحديد أحد السهرات الرمضانية، وآثناء تصفحي لمواقع التواصل الاجتماعي، صعقني مقطع مصور لشاب يقترب من سني، يحمل والده، يصرخ بأقصى صوت تتحمله حنجرته، باكياً، متألماً، ويشق ملابسه، ويقول: أبويا مات. فقط كلمتان! كلمتان هزوا روحي وكياني. وقتها أدركت المصيبة، ماذا لو حدث ذلك لي؟ والدي وهو أعز ما لدي بحياتي، لا قدر الله، وأنا أبعد عنه بقارة! ولن أستطيع أن أكون هُناك، تملكني الخوف والذعر، ووجدت نفسي اتصل على والدي، وأبكي، بكيت بكاء مرير، بكاء خوف، بكاء فقد، بكاء بقدر المسافة التي تفصل بيني وبين والدي، والأنكى، أنه لم يرد على إتصالي! أزيد بكائي وأزيد إتصالاتي، حتى أتاني صوت والدي الناعس، يلعن جنون ابنه الذي يتصل به الساعة الخامسة صباحاً، فتمالكت نفسي كأي مُغترب يحترم نفسه، وقُلت له: أنا فقط أطمئن عليك، ولماذا لم تعد تسهر كما السابق يا حاج؟ أكبرت أم ماذا؟ وضحكنا سوياً ثم أغلقنا الإتصال. ووقتها فقط تمكنت من النوم.

أحكي لكم كُل هذا لأخبركم أن "تيشماماندا" حظها السيء والعاثر أنه قد حدث لها أسوأ كوابيسي، فقد توفي والدها، ولم تستطع أن تكون هناك بسبب غلق المطارات، هي في أمريكا، ووالدها في نيجريا، تفصل عنهم قارات ومُحيطات وسنين ضوئية من ناحية التطور، حتى أمريكا بكل ما تملك من موارد اربكها الكوفيد، فما بالك بدولة أفريقية؟ تحكي "تشماماندا" بألم وتجتر ذكرياتها مع والدها، كُل تلك الأفعال البسيطة التي كان يفعلها، صرامته، طريقة لبسه، قراءته للجرائد، مكانته المرموقة بين أقرانه، حُب وتقدير من حوله له، تجتر الذكريات وتُدمي روحها، وترثي نفسها وأباها، وتتذكر آخر مرة كانا سوياً، وتبكي، لأنها لم تكن تعلم أنها المرة الأخيرة. أليس مؤلماً أنك لا تعرف أبداً متى سوف تكون آخر مرة تلتقي فيها بأحبابك؟

الكتاب لا يتجاوز المائة صفحة، ولكنه يحوي أطناناً من الحزن، بكلمات دقيقة وبسيطة، تنوع ذكريتها وتدويناتها عن الحُزن، وما يفعله بالمرء، وتختم "تشيماماندا" تدويناتها بتلك التدوينة الأكثر حُزناً:

"أكتب عن أبي بصيغة الماضي، ولا أصدق أنني أكتب عن أبي بصيغة الماضي."

Profile Image for Sami Kay.
95 reviews3 followers
May 7, 2021
I’m sitting here in my hammock with tears streaming down my cheeks and I wasn’t even expecting this book to happen to me today, but it did at this perfect time.

My sister died right before COVID happened and it was very unexpected. I read this book today and I felt seen and reading about so many of my feelings that are just too big for words was profound. Especially this piece:

“Laughter is tightly braided into our family argot, and now we laugh remembering my father, but somewhere in the background there is a haze of disbelief. The laughter trails off. The laughter becomes tears and becomes sadness and becomes rage. I am unprepared for my wretched, roaring rage. In the face of this inferno that is sorrow, I am callow and unformed.”

I miss my sister very much this week. She has been on my mind and heart for days. Grief is weird and unpredictable. And forever, really.

Profile Image for Julie.
1,948 reviews38 followers
July 3, 2021
I truly enjoyed getting to know Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's father through her poignant memoir. It was made all the more personal by listening to the author read her own words with feeling. Favorite quotes that caused me to pause, lean in and listen to over again:

"You learn how glib condolences can feel. You learn how much grief is about language. The failure of language and the grasping for language."

"I did not know we cry with our muscles."

"another revelation, how much laughter is part of grief." This resonated, as I remember feeling astonished, as we laughed with my grandparents after my own father's funeral.

"how dare you make this thing true!" referring to people writing in the book of condolence.

Covid causes so much uncertainty and the inability to plan. Dates are set for resuming services and then, moved further away, it's "like playing yoyo with a cat."

"age is irrelevant in grief. At issue is not how old he was but how loved."

"Concrete and sincere memories from those who knew him comfort the most and it warms me that the same words recur: "honest," "calm," "kind," "strong," "quiet," "simple," "peaceful," "integrity.""

"His humor, already dry, crisped deliciously as he aged."

"Never has come to stay. Never feels so unfairly punitive. For the rest of my life I will live with my hands outstretched for things that are no longer there."

Profile Image for Christine.
765 reviews17 followers
June 30, 2021
I thought this was going to be a book about grief in a general sense. I thought there would be some insights, some naval-gazing, some revelations, some enlightenment even. So, I was surprised, as I made my way from beginning to end, that it's simply 70 pages of the author telling us how much she revered her father and how despairing she is that he is no longer alive - she cries, she beats her fists, she falls to the floor - I could not relate. (At times it felt like "over-sharing".) Everyone is different, everyone grieves differently, so I am not dismissive of her grief. Rather, I am questioning the purpose of this book. I suppose, if this helps the author find a way forward then that's probably a good enough reason. But, this type of raw display does not interest me, particularly when I was expecting something more philosophical. This book was not for me.
Profile Image for Fatma Al Zahraa Yehia.
437 reviews482 followers
April 11, 2023

هناك بعض الكتابات التي يمكن أن يُكتفى بتدوينها في مقالة طويلة. مثل تلك الكتاب الذي مثل تعبيراً صادقاً عن مشاعر وأحاسيس امرأة فقدت والدها العزيز. ولكن كانت السبعون صفحة تكراراً لفكرة واحدة و��ى الأثر النفسي الذي تركه الرحيل على روح تلك المرأة، وتلك قليلٌ كمحتوى على ان يُضمّن في كتاب.

Though the author's portrayal of her sorrow and agony resembles what I had been through after my father was gone, I couldn't relate to that book!
Trying to figure it out, I reread the book. Still, there is a kind of a barrier between me and the inner voice of someone with whom I shared the same trauma.

After reading a lot of literary works about death "most were like that book, memoirs", I still wonder, why I felt connected to them but I failed to feel the same with Chimamanda's notes.
I'm sorry for not knowing the reason.
Profile Image for Come Musica.
1,531 reviews378 followers
October 2, 2021
La perdita all’improvviso.

Durante il primo lockdown Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ha perso suo padre. Aveva 88 anni.
Ora non conta l'età quando si perde uno dei due genitori.
Conta solo il dolore che dilania.
Un momento prima era la colonna portante della sua vita, un attimo dopo non più.

Ha dell'aberrante sapere la notizia via Zoom.
Non poter prendere il primo volo per raggiungere la sua famiglia. Per dare l'ultimo saluto.
Con suo padre c'era il fratello.
È da quasi ventotto anni che mi interrogo sempre sulla stessa domanda (sono tanti gli anni che è morto mio padre. Aveva l'età che ho io adesso.): si riesce mai ad elaborare il lutto?
Non credo. Si riesce a passare dalla perdita all'incorporea presenza, questo sì.
Passa la disperazione. E le lacrime si sostituiscono con il sorriso.

“Mi pento delle mie passate certezze: bisogna affrontare il lutto, parlarne, attraversarlo. Comode certezze di una persona che non ha ancora conosciuto il dolore. A me è già capitato di stare male, ma soltanto adesso arrivo al cuore della sofferenza. Solo adesso imparo, cercandone a tentoni i contorni spugnosi, che non c’è modo di attraversarla. Mi trovo chiusa dentro una centrifuga, e sono diventata una costruttrice di scatole dentro le cui rigide pareti ingabbio i pensieri.”

La forza di sua madre, nonostante questo dolore dilaniante. La forza di chi sa che la vita deve riprendere ad andare avanti: “Il governo nigeriano annuncia che gli aeroporti riapriranno verso la fine di agosto e mia madre torna in chiesa per concordare una data nuova. Adesso è per il 9 di ottobre. Il giorno dopo la stampa nigeriana riferisce che secondo le dichiarazioni del governo la riapertura degli aeroporti rimane in sospeso – forse sí, forse no. Mia madre ha un disperato bisogno di una data certa. «Dopo la sepoltura potremo cominciare a guarire», dice. Mi si spezza il cuore a vederla cosí coraggiosa e cosí stanca.”

Cosa resterà dopo?
Restano i gesti, restano i ricordi.
Resta l'amore.
E, per quanto mi riguarda, restano i tratti del padre che continuano a vivere nella figlia, attraverso di lei.

“Naturalmente mi ricordo come mio padre diceva sempre «non fa niente» per tranquillizzarci su qualcosa, ma il fatto che lo abbia ricordato anche Okey lo fa sembrare vero in un modo nuovo. Tra le tante singolari componenti del dolore c’è anche l’insorgenza del dubbio. No, non me lo sto immaginando. Sí, mio padre era davvero meraviglioso.”

Sì, lo era anche il mio.
Profile Image for Nadine Yosry.
92 reviews219 followers
May 5, 2022
قررت أقرأ الكتاب ده في وقت بحاول أفهم الفقد اللي بمر بيه. بحاول أقرأ كتب عن ناس مرت بالفقد وبتحكي تجربتها معاه وبتوصف مشاعرها. حاسة إن حاجة زي دي هتحسسني بالونس، إني مش لوحدي في التجربة دي.

الكتاب ده عمل كدة كويس اوي. ٨٠ صفحة قدرت أحس بسببهم بمشاعر حزن بس في نفس الوقت ونس. مش أنا لوحدي اللي فقدت أبويا فجأة، ولا أنا لوحدي اللي مش فاهمة العالم من حواليا بعد ما مات.

القراءة دي بالنسبالي قراءة شخصية تماماً، ماكنتش مستنية إني أكون رأي تجاه الكتاب أصلاً. لكن طبعاً أسلوب تشيمامندا واختيارها للألفاظ لا غبار عليه وقادر إنه يلمسك بمنتهى الخفة.
Profile Image for ·Karen·.
614 reviews762 followers
November 5, 2021
What did I think? I thought that this would be apposite to my present situation, which illustrates that grief is really not the ideal decision maker. Why should I find this helpful, it's not meant as therapy, nor will her path through darkness light mine.

But this:
...only now have I touched grief's core. Only now do I learn, while feeling for its porous edges, that there is no way through. I am in the center of this churning, and I have become a maker of boxes, and inside their unbending walls I cage my thoughts.

Then other expressions that I find, frankly, odd: Grief is forcing new skins on me.

Oh well. I find more comfort in Julian Barnes' The Man in the Red Coat. Take me out of myself, please, take me away to Belle Époque Paris. Anywhere but here.

And what did I say? Grief is hardly a sensible decision maker. I'm not sure I should have gone out and bought a car this week....
Profile Image for mj☽.
112 reviews29 followers
November 22, 2021
La pena es un tipo de enseñanza cruel. Aprendes lo poco amable que puede ser el duelo, lo lleno de rabia que puede estar. Aprendes lo insustancial que puede resultarte el pésame. Aprendes lo mucho que tiene que ver la pena con el lenguaje, con la incapacidad del lenguaje y con la necesidad de lenguaje.

En esta autobiografía Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie nos cuenta la dolorosa pérdida de su padre en tiempos de coronavirus. A través de su narrativa, la escritora nos dirige por el camino tortuoso que es vivir la pérdida de un ser querido, sobre todo tan cercano y tan significativo en la vida de unx.

Es un libro fuerte y sin tapujos, con una soltura y crudeza donde Chimamanda nos relata la dificultad que conlleva digerir y y vivir el luto, las tradiciones nigerianas llevadas a cabo, como cada familiar procesa la pérdida, entre muchas cosas intricadas que someten a nuestro cuerpo y mente cuando vivimos este proceso.
Profile Image for Patrizia.
506 reviews139 followers
November 8, 2021
Poche pagine incisive e lucide, in cui il dolore emerge in tutta la sua forza senza filtri e senza luoghi comuni.
La morte del padre amatissimo mette l’autrice di fronte alla sua incapacità di accettare l’accaduto.
Rabbia e incredulità, insofferenza per le inutili parole apparentemente consolatorie, per i riti irritanti delle visite di condoglianze, per tutti i cerimoniali cui ci si sottopone in un momento in cui si preferirebbe rimanere soli col proprio dolore.
Non vi è consolazione nei ricordi, che consegnano inesorabilmente al passato e al mai più quella presenza tanto amata.
E se a tutto questo si aggiungono le restrizioni della pandemia, la sepoltura è spostata a data da destinarsi e con essa l’inizio dell’elaborazione del lutto oltre all’accettazione dell’inevitabile cambiamento che ogni dolore opera in noi. La vita andrà avanti, ma con una diversa percezione delle cose.
Profile Image for Sudeepta Pradhan (booksteaandmore).
105 reviews28 followers
May 19, 2021
I lost my father a month back after a brief illness and this book, each and every word was like catharsis. The way Adichie describe her dad, the dry sense of humour, kind, non materialistic, her best friend I could draw parallels with my dad. I felt a knot and a gut wrenching pain while I read this essay but somewhere it made me feel like I am not alone and helped me make sense of grief which is oh so complicated. I am very sure I will find solace in this essay and will come back to this again and again.
Profile Image for bookish.bulletin.
109 reviews101 followers
May 20, 2021
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie lost her dad on June 10th, 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. She and her siblings were scattered around the globe at the time. Her father was 88 years old when he died but learning about it via a Zoom call, she felt gripped by a strong sense of denial.

This essay is deeply personal and one that attempts to make sense of the immense loss Adichie feels over the death of her father. Her writing is contemplative and in a way she attempts to find words for what she’s feeling. To me, it felt like this book was written by the author for the author in order to help her come to terms with the reality of his death. Click the link to read further: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPGA4ojrL...
Profile Image for أحمد سعدالدين.
Author 1 book2,359 followers
November 23, 2021
مؤثر طبعًا. لكنه في النهاية حزن لا يعني غير صاحبه. كان هناك مساحة بالطبع للتأمل والتفكير، لكن الأمر انتهى بمحاولة غير مكتملة للتفكير.
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