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The Thing Around Your Neck Paperback – June 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307455912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307455918
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

There were a few stories that ended abruptly.
Tio
The style of writing is, as usual, superb - simple yet highly expressive.
Michie
A collection of short stories is one of my favorite genres for reading.
Bonnie Brody

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Philip Pogson on 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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nse Ette TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 15, 2009
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on January 12, 2010
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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Uzo Dibia on 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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