Being an African aspiring to the heights of American success is one thing. Actually living in America as an African is another. I am neither, but somehow the characters in The Thing Around Your Neck seem to drift in between. Written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, this collection of short tales takes us through arguably simple life stories that unearth a complex subtext. the African stories she tells are vivid, touching, and powerful, not unlike the writing of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, but in a subtly femine way. Luckily, the themes are not so subverse as to confuse a reader that hasn’t been exposed to life as a Nigerian, here, or there.
Themes of feminism, rape, and female inequality are issues that resonate with all women; stories of scorn that relate to skin tone are even deeper rooted in the minds of Black women. What brings this book within the grasp of the foreign reader–and by foreign I mean anyone who isn’t an Igbo Nigerian– is the short story form. Adiche touches on adultery, homosexuality, immigration woes, and self identity in a way that is thoughtful, and not in any way preachy. Reading one story a day gives you a simple, yet extraordinary dose of Adiche’s uniquely lyrical prose.
Purchase The Thing Around Your Neck here.