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The Thing Around Your Neck [Paperback]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

1 Oct 2009

From the Orange Prize-winning author of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ come twelve dazzling stories that turn a penetrating eye on the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Nigeria and the West.

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 centre of 'Imitation' finds her comfortable life threatened when she learns that her husband back in Lagos has moved his mistress into their 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 re-examine them.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow and longing, this collection is a resounding confirmation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's prodigious storytelling powers.

Frequently Bought Together

The Thing Around Your Neck + Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) + Half of a Yellow Sun
Price For All Three: 18.87

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  • Purple Hibiscus (P.S.) 6.29
  • Half of a Yellow Sun 6.29

Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007306210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007306213
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. Her first novel 'Purple Hibiscus' was published in 2003 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her second novel 'Half of a Yellow Sun' won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards, has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and The Iowa Review. She won a MacArthur 'genius' grant in 2009, and in 2010 appeared on the New Yorker's list of the best 20 writers under 40.

Product Description


‘“The Thing Around your Neck”, with its warm and sympathetic heroines and its finely cadenced un-American English prose, demonstrates that she is keeping faith with her talent and with her country.’ Lindsay Duguid, Sunday Times

‘Her particular gift is the seductive ability to tell a story…Adichie writes with an economy and precision that makes the strange seem familiar. She makes storytelling seem as easy as birdsong.’ Jane Shilling, Telegraph

‘Adichie’s spare, poised prose, the coolness of her phrasing, ensures these scenes are achieved without melodrama. And though she writes very specifically about Nigeria, the stories have a universal application.’ FT

‘An elegant collection. From beginning to end the prose is serene and the characterization deft.’ TLS

‘The powerful themes close to Adichie’s heart shine through, but never over-shadow writing of clarity and brilliance.’ Aminatta Forna, Guardian

About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. Her first novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ was published in 2003 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her second novel ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
By Jackie
This is the best selection of short stories I have ever read. Chimamanda's ability to draw you into each of the characters in such a small space of time is phenomenal. The short stories are focused upon Nigerian life, but many of them are based in other countries. The balance between tragedy and happiness is perfect, leading to a book which does not dwell on hardship, but shows vivid glimpses of it, making the messages come across far more powerfully than continual horrific scenes.

Each story is unique, and although they all contain Nigerian characters, none have the same atmosphere or feel like repetitions of the same idea. The book is very easy to read, and is the perfect introduction to her writing style, as Half of a Yellow Sun, although amazing, is very long.

The only flaw in this book is that I was left yearning to know more about each character. I could easily have read whole novels based on each short story, in fact I'd be happy to read a book written by her once a month for the rest of my life! Sorry for gushing, but talent like this needs to be read by everyone!

Highly recommended to everyone!!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Tease... 16 July 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My idea of a perfect short story is a tale of about 25 pages that doesn't attempt to resolve or explain everything in that space, but instead leaves the reader wanting to read the finished novel - should it ever be written!

When it's done well, a collection of these stories would potentially leave you demanding that the author write full novels for each of them, just so you can see how it ends up. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie can expect to see my letter in the post, because I want to read the completed stories for all of her tales collected here.

Essentially, she's being a big tease!

The writing style is fluid and not wasteful of language, and although some of the themes are similar (well read Nigerians ending up at the bottom of the ladder when they get to America), the characters are distinct enough, and their stories are also different enough. Absolutely perfect to dip in and out of, or even better to sit and read in one hit. Recommended!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Africa meets America 24 Mar 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After reading and enjoying Adichie's debut "Purple Hibiscus" and the follow up "Half of a Yellow Sun," I was eagerly anticipating this collection of twelve short stories from the Nigerian author and it doesn't disappoint.

"The Thing Around Your Neck" is similar to her previous work in that the stories focus on Nigerian culture and issues, however I found the stories easier to read. I think this is perhaps because they had a more contemporary and somewhat Westernised feel compared to her 2 novels set in the 60's. Many of the short stories are also influenced by the time Adichie now spends in America.

I would recommend Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and all her works highly and look forward to reading more from her in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 29 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What a wonderful book. I somehow overlooked this gifted Nigerian-born author's first two novels but now plan to read them at the first opportunity.

These stories are original, compelling and absorbing. Adichie manages to draw you in, filling you with confidence in her story-telling, and all within a few sentences. I love her writing - her use of language and the ease with which stories seem to roll off her pen. In particular, the bemusement felt by characters who find themselves in America for the first time is oh-so cleverly portrayed.

Some of the stories seem to end a little prematurely, abruptly even, but that is simply down to economy of style and leaves you free to use a little imagination. Mind you, there is probably room for each to be developed into a book in its own right.

This is certainly my favourite collection of short stories and I would urge anyone to try them.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does not fail to surprise and delight 24 Mar 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's collection of short stories is a delightful insight into the life of Nigeria and Nigerians - both at home and abroad. Each one is a little cameo, demonstrating the fascinating history of Nigerians and the problems they face today. The characters never fail to surprise and their touching stories are complete in themselves. She really knows how to write in this form, leaving nothing out that is vital and yet putting in nothing superfluous. Excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and thought-provoking 18 July 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an excellent book, filled with beautifully written stories about life in Nigeria, and the experiences of Nigerians in America. I often find short story collections underwhelming, but this one doesn't disappoint, especially after having read the author's previous book Half of a Yellow Sun. There are a couple of stories that are weaker than the rest, but not enough to let the book as a whole down.

Stories such as 'A Private Experience' and 'The American Embassy' return to the theme of political and civil unrest in Nigeria, and both are powerful and moving pieces about how people deal with turmoil and loss. 'The Thing Around Your Neck' and 'The Arrangers of Marriage' explore young women who have moved to the US for a new life that has not lived up to their expectations. The cultural differences between America and Africa, and even recent and long-term immigrants are presented as vast and confusing.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a brilliant and intelligent writer and I would recommend her books to anyone who enjoys literature. This collection is poignant and moving, and full of life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Short story without a twist
Did not enjoy this at all. Having read Americanah, I was looking forward to this but I like short stories with a twist, even if just a subtle one. Read more
Published 4 days ago by brownbabygirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another fantastic book by this incredible author
Having thought that Half of a Yellow Sun was amazing, I thought I'd try this book as well. Achichie is able to capture life so perfectly. Read more
Published 11 days ago by SiobhanP
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Each story takes you to a different place, in that you 're able to visualise the character. It was ever so easy to place yourself at the heart of the character. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sophie Oduyale
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful African Literature
Very interesting piece of work. Would have liked some of the stories to be a bit longer with a clearer end.
Published 3 months ago by mo
4.0 out of 5 stars These are very good stories, revealing so much about Nigerian life.
She shows remarkable skill in compressing characters and plot into the short story form. I have now read all her published work and she has become one of my favourite and most... Read more
Published 3 months ago by brian hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible
Chimamanda is just amazing. The literature and the vivid flow of the stories grips ones imagination. Her writing takes me right back to the heart of Africa (home). Read more
Published 3 months ago by mammjess
5.0 out of 5 stars A great set short stories
A great book. Thoroughly enjoyed it. My only regret about this author is that I have read all her books, and I can't wait for her to write another book.
Published 3 months ago by A. P. In Reading U.K.
5.0 out of 5 stars stories by a beautiful writer
short stories well written by a beautiful writer.You will not want to put it down till you finish the book.
Published 3 months ago by Idayat Salako
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding collection of short stories
I only bought this because I was searching for Achebe's "There Was A Country" (at that time unavailable on Kindle) and Amazon suggested I might like it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Garry Essendine
5.0 out of 5 stars Holiday Read
I ordered this book for my wife when looking for the latest book by this author ( which is not yet available) AND IT PROVED TO BE A GREAT SUCCESS AS A HOLIDAY READ.
Published 6 months ago by John Smith
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