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The Thing Around Your Neck

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  15,175 Ratings  ·  1,557 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

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Published July 15th 2010 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published June 16th 2009)
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Katharine
Jul 05, 2012 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 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
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Julie Christine
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
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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
Maxwell
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
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Tea Jovanović
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zbirka priča magičnog pripovedača!
·Karen·
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, short-stories
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
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Sokari
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
Emer
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
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James
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
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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
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Puck
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
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Paul
Jul 09, 2016 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
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Cheryl
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
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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
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
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Cris
Nov 14, 2015 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
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Richard
Jul 27, 2011 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
RavenclawReadingRoom
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.
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
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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
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Sookie
May 21, 2015 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
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Ezequiel
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La potencia de la voz de los personajes de Chimamanda es envidiable. Es el primer acercamiento que tengo a ella escribiendo ficción y me dejó con ganas de más. Muy recomendable.
Airaology
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Isidora
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: svenska, e-books
I'm fond of short stories. These were good, some of them truly adorable, mostly for the well-developed characters I could relate to.
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
Resh (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
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Fatma
"Grace would ponder this story for a long time, with great sadness, and it would cause her to make a clear link between education and dignity, between the hard, obvious things that are printed in books and the soft, subtle things that lodge themselves into the soul."

Adichie very much brings her trademark style to this book, so naturally, I loved it.

Here are my ratings for the individual stories:
- "Cell One" 3/5 stars
- "Imitation" 3/5 stars
- "A Private Experience" 3.5/5 stars
- "Ghosts" 2.5/5 st
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
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  • One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories
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  • The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
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  • An Elegy for Easterly: Stories
  • One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir
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  • Changes: A Love Story
  • Aké: The Years of Childhood
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  • The Boy Next Door
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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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More about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie...
“She could not complain about not having shoes when the person she was talking to had no legs.” 56 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.” 10 likes
More quotes…