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The Thing Around Your Neck

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  12,764 Ratings  ·  1,359 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
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by Anchor
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Katharine
Jul 05, 2012 Katharine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Brina
Jan 11, 2017 Brina 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
...more
Julie
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
...more
Maxwell
Dec 25, 2014 Maxwell 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
...more
Tea Jovanović
Apr 20, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zbirka priča magičnog pripovedača!
Jean
Mar 17, 2017 Jean 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
Emer
Feb 12, 2016 Emer 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
Sokari
May 09, 2010 Sokari 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
Aubrey
4.5/5
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
...more
Cheryl
Nov 09, 2013 Cheryl 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
...more
Paul
Jul 09, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Richard
Jul 27, 2011 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
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.
Kinga
Dec 23, 2010 Kinga 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
...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
Cris
Nov 14, 2015 Cris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Como muchos, descubrí las palabras de Chimamanda a través de un par de charlas TED que hay disponibles en la red (The danger of a single story y We should all be feminists). Ya entonces quedó claro que esta mujer tiene mucho que decir y me entró curiosidad por leer algo suyo.

Este libro es una colección de 12 relatos cortos, las raíces de muchos de los cuales surgen de la propia experiencia de la autora: nació en Enugu, Nigeria, y a la edad de 19 años emigró a Estados Unidos para estudiar y desar
...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
Sookie
May 21, 2015 Sookie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jill
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
...more
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
The Book Satchel
The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of 12 short stories, focusing mainly on the lives and experiences of middle class Nigerian women (save for one story, Ghosts that has a male narrator) who are caught up in political or religious violence or coping with unhappy marriages, or faced with unexpected disappointments etc

My favourite story is A Private Experience, in which a Christian medical student seeks shelter with a poor Muslim woman during a religious riot. Their kinsmen (Igbo and Hausa
...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
Nabilah Firdaus
The Thing Around Your Neck (TTAYN) is a collection of 12 short stories (which I just noticed after finishing the first chapter) which reflects on various aspects in life, particularly in Nigeria and America. This was my first book by the author, who is a renowned Nigerian author, famous with her notable works - Half Of A Yellow Sun and Americanah, whose works I've always wanted to savour. It was also my first Nigerian literature and the reading experience was great and incredibly refreshing.

I lo
...more
Melissa White
Mar 16, 2017 Melissa White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I'm not a huge fan of short stories but I loved every single one of these. I could have read a full novel on each story that was told, they were all amazing!
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
Jo
Dec 11, 2016 Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chimamanda never disappoints. In 12 short stories she brings us the reality of 12 different women: the woman whose husband is cheating and the one in an arranged marriage; the emigrant for whom things did not turn out as she'd hoped and the one who connects with a neighbour over a tragic event back home; the writer who apparently "doesn't write like an African"; the historian who speaks strongly about her origins. Strong women, resigned women, in all shapes and shades, with whom you develop a co ...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!)
Amena
Sep 12, 2015 Amena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Buy it. Read it. Never have any regrets. IN LOVE.
Ayala Levinger
Feb 18, 2017 Ayala Levinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chimamanda is such a brilliant story teller that almost every story I finished of this collection I wished it wasn't a short story but a novel.
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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
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“She could not complain about not having shoes when the person she was talking to had no legs.” 53 likes
“You wanted to feel disdain, to show it as you brought his order, because white people who liked Africa too much and those who liked Africa too little were the same—condescending.” 8 likes
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