Patrick O'Neil's Reviews > The Thing Around Your Neck

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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Sep 08, 2009

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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. Going back home to Africa is sometimes the answer, but never one that appears to make anything better.

There is a sadness to her characters, she lets the reader see them for what they are. But unfortunately she is a bit too predictable, and seems unable to develop her characters. A few chapters, most notably: Cell One, and A Private Experience, are brilliant. Unfortunately the majority, are not. I really like the ideas, direction, and concept behind many of her pieces, yet the execution didn't keep my interest, and I found my mind wandering.

I know this is probably an unpopular position to take, but I wonder if it was the subject matter that prevailed in this collection being published. Timing, current events, potential sales, and world interest/guilt can play heavily towards a book being presented to the public.

In the stories that do shine, Adichie proves she is an excellent writer. Perhaps I need to read some of her other work.
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