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The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

August 18, 2018

 

 

An astounding collection of short stories filled with memorable and rich characters. As Adichie’s famous TED Talk says, there is danger in a single story, and here Adichie offers us a plethora of stories, some set in Nigeria, others in the US, some part way between. There are many notable stories here, the title work The Thing Around Your Neck addresses inter-racial romance, Nigerian history and feminism. Often these are stories about finding your own path or learning how to convey a personal history.

 

One of my favourites, Jumping Monkey Hill, discusses head-on the narrow view from the Western literary tradition of what ‘African’ literature ought to be, as well as being a feminist look at writing and relationships. All these stories are more than just one thing, they point to wider themes and ideas of love, war, friendship, race, class, but also they are brilliant character studies and delve into family relationships and personal history. None of the stories outstay their welcome and there’s not a false note among them.

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