Winner of a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and an Orange Prize for Fiction, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie continues the literary tradition of Chinua Achebe, one of her greatest influences, in this brilliant collection of stories. Focusing on life’s many clashes—tradition with modernity, African cultures with American—Adichie delivers a series of haunting, character-driven tales.
©2009 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
"The most powerful stories in this volume depict immensely complicated, conflicted characters, many of [whom] have experienced the random perils of life firsthand....Adichie demonstrates that she is adept at conjuring the unending personal ripples created by political circumstance, at conjuring both the 'hard, obvious' facts of history, and 'the soft, subtle things that lodge themselves into the soul.'" (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
Adichie’s graceful and slicing stories of characters struggling with fear, anger, and sorrow beautifully capture the immense resonance of small things as the larger world pitches into incoherence. (Booklist)
"Haunting . . . Adichie, a Nigerian who has studied in the U. S., writes with wisdom and compassion about her countrymen's experiences as foreigners, both in America and in their changing homeland. Here is one of fiction's most compelling new voices." (Vick Boughton, People)
As one of the apparently rare few who wasn't blown away by Half of a Yellow Sun, I took a gamble on Adichie's short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck--and I'm very glad that I did. These twelve stories all feature Nigerian protagonists, but the settings, time periods, and situations shift from the 1967 Biafran war, to immigrants in the contemporary United States, back to a time when white missionaries were still a rare sight in Nigeria. Many of the stories deal with women struggling to balance between the old ways and the new, but Adichie also focuses on Nigeria's brutal politics, history of violence, divisive class system, and exploitation by the west. But behind those messages are real characters--real people--working hard at relationships and trying to make tomorrow just a little better than today. Adichie's writing itself is engaging and compelling, and the stories have encouraged me to seek out her other novels. Perhaps even to give Half of a Yellow Sun another try.
The reader does wonderful characterizations of both male and female characters. If I have one criticism of this audiobook, it's the transitions between stories--or, rather, the lack of any. Most of the stories don't end with a bang; they come to a gentle, even subtle conclusion, and the recording doesn't leave much of a pause between them. Often I was several minutes into a story before I realized that it was a new one with entirely different characters. Readers are justified in expecting at least a five-second pause to indicate a shift in time, place, and characters, and to let a conclusion settle in.
These stories are brilliant. The author uses a combination of exquisitely drawn characters and subtle, gripping plot lines to bring us to into an intimate space that is at once particular and universal. One of the most satisfying reading experiences I have had in a long time.
I truly enjoyed the stories and narration - I wanted more - the stories were not predictable - wonderful suprises.
I love stories of immigrants and people moving between cultures and I was attracted to find out more about Africans in America and their efforts to adapt to America while retaining their ties back home. Although some of these stories were able to accomplish just that, many of these short stories were not well developed and all ended abruptly. Many of the stories were also very pretentious and the author seemed preoccupied with characters attending prestigious colleges. Ultimately, I wondered if these were early works by an evolving writer that were published after some of her more mature works found success.
Maddingly,there was absolutely no break between stories and it could take several minutes to realize a new story had started!
Say something about yourself!
Adiche has created a wonderful collection of stories, the characters very different and appearing in the context of different cultures. Some inhabit modern Lagos, others have remained in the rural areas of Nigeria, and at least three of them are immigrants to Philadelphia. One of my favorite stories is narrated by a writer who attends a Pan-African writer's conference, introducing a variety of characters from many countries and skillfully telling a story within a story.
The narrator has done an outstanding job of creating the voices of these characters in such a way that I had no trouble telling one from another. It was pure joy to hear her pronounce the African names. The book is much more than just a sum of the parts--it evokes the whole process of people transitioning from traditional ways into the world as it is becoming. Highly recommended!
Book Lover and Knitter
The narrator is perfect for this wonderful book. Most of the stories are about Nigerian women, dealing with the clash of culture between Nigeria and the U.S. My favorite short story ever is included in this collection. It is called 'The Headstrong Historian'.
The stories take place in and out of Africa. They pay close attention to the states of mind of the characters. The situations range from hiding out in the midst of armed conflict to dealing with family or work, to adjusting to life in America in an arranged marriage.
Totally convincing, read with appropriate accents and a gentleness that goes with the content. Engrossing.
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