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The Thing Around Your Neck | Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie | 2009, 300 pages | Fiction (short stories)
The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of 12 stories by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, the influential Nigerian author of Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) and Americanah (2013). The trials and tribulations of otherness are continually investigated throughout Adichie’s works, and this collection makes no exception.
Set variously in Nigeria and America, Adichie’s stories reflect upon the multitudinous schisms between these two spaces and their associated cultures. The stories are often, though not exclusively, told from the perspective of women with the core of each narrative working to relay how frequently reality does not coincide with expectation. They feature a woman left in Lagos to care for her family while her husband works abroad; a woman living in Philadelphia, tending to an empty home while her husband lives in Africa with his alleged mistress; a woman who falls for the mother of the boy she nannies; a woman who detests her arranged marriage and accompanying husband whose (rapacious) hands hold the green card she needs to stay in America; women who are strong, critical, inquisitive; women who wish to bury their past and those who long to embrace it.
The Thing Around Your Neck is a brilliantly composed exploration of America’s supposed multiculturalism and an important work from a necessary voice.
Laura Judge, Library Technician