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The Thing Around Your Neck [Kindle Edition]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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 Achebe.” Her award-winning Half of a Yellow Sun became an instant classic upon its publication three years later, once again putting her tremendous gifts—graceful storytelling, knowing compassion, and fierce insight into her characters’ hearts—on display. Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

In “A Private Experience,” a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she’s been pushing away. In “Tomorrow is Too Far,” a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother’s death. The young mother at the center of “Imitation” finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie’s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah. 


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun) stays on familiar turf in her deflated first story collection. The tension between Nigerians and Nigerian-Americans, and the question of what it means to be middle-class in each country, feeds most of these dozen stories. Best known are "Cell One," and "The Headstrong Historian," which have both appeared in the New Yorker and are the collection's finest works. "Cell One," in particular, about the appropriation of American ghetto culture by Nigerian university students, is both emotionally and intellectually fulfilling. Most of the other stories in this collection, while brimming with pathos and rich in character, are limited. The expansive canvas of the novel suits Adichie's work best; here, she fixates mostly on romantic relationships. Each story's observations illuminate once; read in succession, they take on a repetitive slice-of-life quality, where assimilation and gender roles become ready stand-ins for what could be more probing work. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

A country famously known to the West for its e-mail scams, Nigeria is indebted to Adichie for these graceful and evocative stories that portray it as the rich and diverse nation it truly is. They also demonstrate her keen insight into the rough terrain of human nature beset by external demands and pressures. Adichie, compared to a "hostess" (San Francisco Chronicle) who invites her achingly believable characters fully formed into her stories, treats her protagonists -- mostly women -- with respect and compassion. A few minor complaints included less-convincing American characters and some awkward endings, but all critics recognized Adichie as an accomplished storyteller whose careful study of her native land illuminates its foreignness as well as the similarities between us all.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2431 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (June 16, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002D9ZLLY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,349 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short story gems July 4, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
These are beautiful, whimsical stories of culture shifting, of the intersection of differing African cultures with each other and in particular, the intersections of Nigerian culture, beliefs and experiences with that of the US. Ngozi Adichie's characters are poor, struggling housemaids, young African authors trying to make it as writers with the doubtful aid of English "African literature lovers", Big Men grown fat and over confident with power, influence and wealth, poor students trying to make their way in Western universities, retired academics waiting patiently, but without faith, for their pensions to be paid. Her best characters are the barely noticeable outsiders, those treading the at time treacherous, at times pitiful borders between Africa family and tribal norms and the consumer driven West. The wars, massacres and revolutions here are not those of Old Europe, but of Young Africa yet they have the same, stark effect of those who remember and mark their lives by these epoch-making events. These stories reward and enrich at a number of levels and provoke reflection long after the book is read.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's newest novel is a collection of 12 short stories, some of which have been previously printed in journals under different names ("The arrangers of marriage" was published as "New husband" in Iowa Review).

Written in her trademark fluid and highly descriptive style (akin to fellow Nigerian Chinua Achebe's), they tell tales familiar to most Nigerians; Cult activity in Nigerian universities, late (or no) pension payments to retired civil servants, a husband's affair and the troubling effect on the wife, Religious riots in a Northern Nigerian city and their aftermath, a morning at the US embassy, a US visa lottery winner's experience in the US, sibling rivalry, and a new bride's awakening after an arranged marriage to mention a few.

Much like her previous books, the tales usually feature some strong female character (or some seemingly weak and docile female who develops strength over the course of the tale) and are set in reference to some real life occurrences in Nigeria; a plane crash that occurs on the same day as the first lady's death after plastic surgery, living under an oppressive military regime, etc.

My only complaint is that a few of the stories seem to grind to an abrupt halt just when you are expecting them to take further flight. She is just as pretty in the flesh as she appears in photos, I saw her at a book reading and signing for this book last week. Another literary classic!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
The thing around your neck is an absorbing and beautiful collection of short stories which blew me away and has sent me off in search of more of her stories. Each story in here, all of them, are utterly gripping and told without labouring the point. Right from the first paragraph in the first story I was gripped.

Cmimamanda Ngozi Adiche tells stories of her native Igbu (sp) people of Nigeria but from many different angles. From the story of a young boy, son of university lecturer and professionals going off the rails as observed by his sister, to the story of young wife installed in a large mansion in America by her husband who finds out her husband has a moved a mistress into their house in Nigeria.

I found the range of stories and tales that Adichie tackled the most interesting. She is able to tell different stories from vastly different people, and tell them sparingly yet with deeply observed nuance. No point is laboured but the ideas flow out of the text richly.

Adichie is now one of my must buy authors.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN ACCESSIBLE WRITER November 18, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Chimamanda is a very accessible writer. She presents a beautiful collection of tales, with African women, especially Igbo women, at the centre of the tales.

Her style is free-flowing, highly redolent of one who has mastered the art of story telling.Her diction is not too facile or incomprehensible. This serves to engage the reader fully, and one gets to appreciate the plainness, simplicity, strength, and beauty of her prose.

The story I loved the most was "Ghosts", followed by "The Headstrong Historian".Most of the other stories were good but some did not resonate well with me.I felt they were a bit weak in content, and the themes were lost on me.However this is not to take away any credit from Chimamanda.

She pits Western ideals against traditional Igbo values, and leaves the reader to judge which is better. However, in some instances,I believe she tacitly admits that the Igbo norms and cultures are superior to Western ways with their detachment from communal norms, a lack of respect for age, religious morality etc.The African is presented most times in the best possible light,but this does not mean an abdication of blame in the ills that forever plague us in the developing parts of the world.In some stories, the inane practices of pre-existing traditional societies is mentioned e.g curbing promiscuity by insertion of herbs into the female.It would have been nice to see a condemnation of such practices.However, that was not the point of that particular story.

There is an overt feminist tone in most of the stories, which is quite understandable .And I commend her depiction of strong, feminine characters, the situations they encounter, and how they are dealt with in every facet of daily existence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Ms. Adiche is quite an insightful storyteller. I was hooked from the first page.
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A complelling anthology of short stories with a Nigerian?American...
Powerful and very human stories though several while interesting are less plausible.Great craftsmanship in the structure of the stories and the developemnt of characters. Read more
Published 5 days ago by David Nettelbeck
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not her best, but I enjoyed the read
Published 16 days ago by Shizz
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Any book that makes you sit back and think, that makes you reflect on what you have done in your life is well worth the effort. This book fits the bill
Published 17 days ago by Halma
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of two worlds: reality and fiction
If you enjoy reading stories that presents you with strong characters, full of emotions and clever dialogues, Chimamanda will please you. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jonathan RA
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful.
A stirring of the unconscious! Loved every story for their rawness and complexity. Looking forward to Chimamanda's other works. Xx
Published 1 month ago by Allison Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All time favorite
Published 1 month ago by Carol A. Hessler
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a Great Read
I did not realize that this was a book of short stories but I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of prose and different settings. Another winner by Chimamanda!
Published 2 months ago by LP Blues Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars I did not want the stories to end. These ...
I did not want the stories to end. These short stories are powerful and thought provoking; all made a lasting impression. I am recommending this book to all of my friends.
Published 2 months ago by KLA
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent condition
Published 2 months ago by Ree
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More About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who grew up in Nigeria, was shortlisted for the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards and has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and The Iowa Review.

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