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The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009, Hardcover)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | ISBN-10: 0307271072 | ISBN-13: 9780307271075
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The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009, Hardcover)
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The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009, Hardcover)
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Product description
Synopsis
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie burst onto the literary scene with her remarkable debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, which critics hailed as "one of the best novels to come out of Africa in years" (Baltimore Sun ), with "prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes" ( The Boston Globe ); The Washington Post called her "the twenty-first-century daughter of Chinua Achebe." Her award-winning Half of a Yellow Sun became an instant classic upon its publication three years later, once again putting her tremendous giftsgraceful storytelling, knowing compassion, and fierce insight into her characters' heartson display. Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States. 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 center of "Imitation" finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos 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 reexamine them. Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie's signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.

From the prizewinning author ofHalf of a Yellow Sun("A gorgeous, pitiless account of love, violence, and betrayal"Time;"Instantly enthralling"The New York Times) twelve dazzling storiesher most intimate work to datein which she turns her penetrating eye on the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Nigeria and the United States. 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 center of "Imitation" finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos 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 reexamine them. Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, this collection is a resounding confirmation of Adichie's prodigious literary powers.

In her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, award-winning author Adichie turns her penetrating eye not only on Nigeria but on America as well, in 12 dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the U.S.


Product Identifiers
ISBN-100307271072
ISBN-139780307271075

Key Details
AuthorChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Number Of Pages240 pages
FormatHardcover
Publication Date2009-06-16
LanguageEnglish
PublisherKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Additional Details
Copyright Date2009

Dimensions
Weight14 Oz
Height1 In.
Width5.9 In.
Length8.7 In.

Target Audience
GroupTrade

Classification Method
LCCN2008-041271
LC Classification NumberPR9387.9.A34354T55
Dewey Decimal823/.92
Dewey Edition22

Reviews
"A vivid new collection by Adichie . . . In the tense and dramatic 'A Private Experience,' two women, a young Christian Igbo girl from Lagos and a poor Muslim Hausa woman from the north, take refuge from a street riot in an empty shop and share lessons in survival. 'Ghosts' [is] an accomplished and powerful story about honour and regret [that] sounds a long sad chord from the small world of the elderly, gently gathering wider implications into its brief compass. . . . [The stories set in America are] full of telling contrasts between the new world and 'home.' . . . The most sophisticated story in the collection is 'Jumping Monkey Hill,' which features an old English post-colonial couple who run an African writers' workshop outside Cape Town. [It] has a wryly humorous story within a story, and ends, like many of the tales here, with the protagonist walking away from compromise. Whether in the land of the free or under military rule, women are the main victimsof casual lechery, arranged marriages, cheating husbands and violence. When women talk to each other they share more than gossip and information; they are bound together in powerlessness. The long final story, 'The Headstrong Historian,' a compact tragic family saga, ends on a faint note of hope with an educated granddaughter. . . .With its warm and sympathetic heroines and its finely cadenced prose, this collection demonstrates that [Adichie] is keeping faith with her talent and with her country." Lindsay Duguid,The Sunday Times(London) "The success of [Half of a Yellow Sun] cemented Adichie's status as an incredibly gifted storyteller and her stories add further confirmation. Adichie's work is reminiscent of that of novelists Amy Tan and Jhumpa Lahiri in that her fiction is largely concerned with the clash of cultures and the immigrant experience in America. Like the author's life this collection is divided between America and her west African homeland. Each is a perfect nugget, telling a complete story in some 20 pages. Simple but beautiful, the stories tackle everything from corrupt police and riots to infidelity and arranged marriages. While she writes of Nigeria with affection, Adichie never sees it through rose-tinted spectacles. . . . The stories are compelling and diverse but make up a mere 218 pagesleaving the reader wanting more from this major African talent." Lianne Kolirin,Daily Express(UK) "A fortunate few writers possess the rare but unmistakable quality of inspiring a reader's confidence within a few sentences. It is a curious, almost unliterary trait: like meeting a person whom one knows is going to become a friend. The secret is not one of content or style (though Adichie is a stylist of deceptively effortless grace who seems to manipulate language almost invisibly, so that it is only later that her careful craftsmanship becomes apparent). Her particular gift is the seductive ability to tell a story. Adichie's narratives have something of the compelling allureat once intimate and strangeof a crossed telephone line. It is as though the reader has dropped into the lives of her young women (the majority of her narrators are young and female) and become immediately absorbed into their imagined world. . . . Her characters have the power of archetypes and the verisimilitude that comes from fine observation. . . . Adichie writes with an economy and precision that makes the strange seem familiar. She makes storytelling seem as easy as birdsong." Jane Shilling,The Daily Telegraph(UK) "Almost every story [inThe Thing Around Your Neck], in the way only the most satisfying short stories manage, holds t

"Affecting . . . The Africa in Adichie''s collection isn''t the Africa that Americans are familiar with from TV news or newspaper headlines. Her stories are not about civil war or government corruption or deadly illnesses. She is interested in how clashes between tradition and modernity, familial expectations and imported dreams affect relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children. In these stories, which take place in Nigeria and the United States, questions of belonging and loyalty are multiplied several times over. Her characters, many of whom grew up in Nigeria and emigrated (or saw their relatives emigrate) to America, find themselves unmoored, many stumbling into danger or confusion. Rather than becoming cosmopolitan members of a newly globalized world, they tend to feel dislocated on two continents and caught on the margins of two cultures that are themselves in a rapid state of flux. . . . 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 "Haunting . . . In the first of these 12 stories set in Nigeria and the U. S., a spoiled college student doing a stint in a Nigerian prison finds he can''t keep silent when the police harass an elderly inmate. In another, what seems like an excellent arranged marriage is doomed once the bride joins her husband in Brooklyn and learns he''s an overbearing bore. And for the lonely narrator of the title story, falling in love means ''the thing that wrapped itself around your neck, that nearly choked you before you fell asleep,'' is finally loosened. 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,A PeoplePick "Imagine how hard it must be to write stories that make American readers understand what it might be like to visit a brother in a Nigerian jail, to be the new bride in an arranged marriage, to arrive in Flatbush from Lagos to meet a husband or to hide in a basement, waiting for a riot to subside, wondering what happened to a little sister who let go of your hand when you were running. How would it feel to be a woman who smuggled her journalist husband out of Nigeria one day and had her 4-year-old son shot by government thugs the next? If reading stories can make you feel . . . caught between two worlds and frightened, what would it be like to live them? This is Adichie''s third book, and it is fascinating. . . . Characters (many in their teens and early 20s) feel a yanking on invisible collars as they try to strike out on their own. Sometimes, ties are cut by distance, leaving a protagonist disoriented and alone . . . Sometimes a lie or a death cuts the lines of trust that tie a character to the world they inhabit. Most of Adichie''s characters are alone, adrift in a strange physical or emotional landscape. . . . These characters feel invisible, erased. They can''t go home. They want to melt into America. What would it be like to feel that sinister thing, memory, around your neck? Perhaps you can imagine after all." -Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review "Don''t let Adichie''s highbrow resume scare you away from her accessible and compelling short-story collection. Yes, the 31-year-old Nigerian writer won a 2008 MacArthur Genius award. But unlike many literary authors, she eschews pretentious obscurity in favor of clarity

"Affecting . . . The Africa in Adichie's collection isn't the Africa that Americans are familiar with from TV news or newspaper headlines. Her stories are not about civil war or government corruption or deadly illnesses. She is interested in how clashes between tradition and modernity, familial expectations and imported dreams affect relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children. In these stories, which take place in Nigeria and the United States, questions of belonging and loyalty are multiplied several times over. Her characters, many of whom grew up in Nigeria and emigrated (or saw their relatives emigrate) to America, find themselves unmoored, many stumbling into danger or confusion. Rather than becoming cosmopolitan members of a newly globalized world, they tend to feel dislocated on two continents and caught on the margins of two cultures that are themselves in a rapid state of flux. . . . 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 "Haunting . . . In the first of these 12 stories set in Nigeria and the U. S., a spoiled college student doing a stint in a Nigerian prison finds he can't keep silent when the police harass an elderly inmate. In another, what seems like an excellent arranged marriage is doomed once the bride joins her husband in Brooklyn and learns he's an overbearing bore. And for the lonely narrator of the title story, falling in love means 'the thing that wrapped itself around your neck, that nearly choked you before you fell asleep,' is finally loosened. 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,APeoplePick "Don't let Adichie's highbrow resume scare you away from her accessible and compelling short-story collection. Yes, the 31-year-old Nigerian writer won a 2008 MacArthur Genius award. But unlike many literary authors, she eschews pretentious obscurity in favor of clarity. In these stories set both in Nigeria and in the USA, she touches on religion, corruption, Nigeria's civil war and living in America as a lonely African wife. Mostly, however, she creates indelible characters who jump off the page and into your head and heart." Deirdre Donahue,USA Today "Adichie belongs to the rare group of young writers whose wisdom sets them apart from writers of their age. . . .The Thing Around Your Neckonce again showcases her insights into human nature under social, ethical, cultural as well as personal dilemmas. . . . In her notes about novel writing, Elizabeth Bowen emphasized both the unpredictability and the inevitability of a character's actions. Adichie's best stories are perfect examples of her masterful perception of these seemingly conflicting qualities within human nature. I hesitate to use 'create,' as Adichie's characters don't feel as though they were merely created; rather, it is as if they were invited into the stories by the most understanding hostess, and their dilemmas, pains and secrets were t

"Haunting . . . In the first of these 12 stories set in Nigeria and the U. S., a spoiled college student doing a stint in a Nigerian prison finds he can't keep silent when the police harass an elderly inmate. In another, what seems like an excellent arranged marriage is doomed once the bride joins her husband in Brooklyn and learns he's an overbearing bore. And for the lonely narrator of the title story, falling in love means 'the thing that wrapped itself around your neck, that nearly choked you before you fell asleep,' is finally loosened. 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,APeoplePick "Don't let Adichie's highbrow resume scare you away from her accessible and compelling short-story collection. Yes, the 31-year-old Nigerian writer won a 2008 MacArthur Genius award. But unlike many literary authors, she eschews pretentious obscurity in favor of clarity. In these stories set both in Nigeria and in the USA, she touches on religion, corruption, Nigeria's civil war and living in America as a lonely African wife. Mostly, however, she creates indelible characters who jump off the page and into your head and heart." Deirdre Donahue,USA Today "Adichie belongs to the rare group of young writers whose wisdom sets them apart from writers of their age. . . .The Thing Around Your Neckonce again showcases her insights into human nature under social, ethical, cultural as well as personal dilemmas. . . . In her notes about novel writing, Elizabeth Bowen emphasized both the unpredictability and the inevitability of a character's actions. Adichie's best stories are perfect examples of her masterful perception of these seemingly conflicting qualities within human nature. I hesitate to use 'create,' as Adichie's characters don't feel as though they were merely created; rather, it is as if they were invited into the stories by the most understanding hostess, and their dilemmas, pains and secrets were then related to us by the hostess, who seems to understand the characters better than they understand themselves, who does not judge them, and who treats them with respect and love and empathy that perhaps they would never have allowed themselves to imagine. . . . Reading ['On Monday of Last Week'] is like taking a journey of having one's heart broken in a foreign land, yet it is not the foreignness of the land that brings the pain but the foreignness in any human heart. . . In this and a few other stories about Nigerian women who have found themselves in America, Adichie transcends the norm of immigrants' stories and give the characters complexities that would be absent in a less masterful storyteller. . . . 'The Headstrong Historian,' a story that encompasses four generations of women (and men), achieves what a short story rarely does, with a symphonic quality that one would only hope to see in a master's stories, like those of Tolstoy. . . . Together these stories once again prove that Adichie is one of those rare writers that any country or any continent would feel proud to claim as its own." Yiyun Li,San Francisco Chronicle "The immigrant experience, that endlessly complicated balancing act between longing for acceptance and resisting pressure to just shut up and be grateful for your green card, is rich terrain for fiction that explores the tensions that arise where politics and the personal intersect. The celebrated writer Chimamanda Ngozi

"The immigrant experience, that endlessly complicated balancing act between longing for acceptance and resisting pressure to just shut up and be grateful for your green card, is rich terrain for fiction that explores the tensions that arise where politics and the personal intersect. The celebrated writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 31, knows this terrain well. . . . In the dozen stories inThe Thing Around Your Neck,Adichie writes with great sensitivity of the struggles of Nigerian immigrants to forge an identity in the modern world without discarding the values of their culture of origin. Violence casts a long shadow over the collection. A few stories explore the frustration of trying to make an arranged marriage work in a new country. [One character says of America,] 'It forces egalitarianism on you. You have nobody to talk to, really, except for your toddlers, so you turn to your housegirl. And before you know it, she is your friend. Your equal.' Virginia Woolf could not have said it better. . . . Whether they live in Nigeria or the U. S., the women in Adichie's stories do not have it easy. One thing they do have, though, is brains. Their suffering is all the more poignant because, deep down, they know the price you pay for not doing what you want in life is incalculable." Conan Putnam,Chicago Tribune "You know it when you see it: the ability to conjure whole lives, times, places, worlds in a few deft splashes of prose, Picassoesque line drawings of the mind, without resort to attitudinal or perspectival gambits, language games, postmoderndevices. Plenty of people have recognized the sure-handed literary classicism of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Now comes a dozen stories, half set in Nigeria andin a creative departure for Adichiethe other half in America. The characters in the stories set stateside are stymied by home ties and bemused by America. The coloration and vigor [in those stories] rarely pale, and Adichie's supple talents are on full display in her African tales, which never fail to touch the universal in the particular experience of the aging revolutionary professor, the fallen bourgeois golden boy, the shopping-crazy gal caught up in a marketplace massacre. Like most of usbut perhaps more soAdichie's imagination seems fired by nostalgia for a lost childhood world at least as much as by the challenges of the ever-moving present tense that has swept it so unceremoniously, irretrievably away." Ben Dickinson,Elle "The stories inThe Thing Around Your Neckare so exquisite they grab you by the throat and stop your heart." Elissa Schappell,Vanity Fair "Fiercely sympathetic tales of Nigerian expatriates who find themselves alienated on both continents." Megan O'Grady,Vogue "These 12 stories by Nigerianborn Adichie provide a wise and minutely observed update of the American-immigrant experience. Her narrators, most young African women, navigate the exotic terrain of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, their perceptions sharpened by homesickness. Macy's, for instance, can take on the eerie grandeur of an imperial palace." Jed Lipinski,The Village Voice "As richly modulated as MacArthur fellow Adichie's hard-hitting novels are, her short stories are equally well-tooled and potent. As her first collection arcs between Nigeria and the U. S., Adichie takes measure of the divide between men and women and different classes and cultures. A meticulous observer of tactile detail and emotional nuance, Adichie moves sure-footedly from the personal to the communal as she illuminates with striking immediacy the consequences of

"You know it when you see it: the ability to conjure whole lives, times, places, worlds in a few deft splashes of prose, Picassoesque line drawings of the mind, without resort to attitudinal or perspectival gambits, language games, postmoderndevices. Plenty of people have recognized the sure-handed literary classicism of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Now comes a dozen stories, half set in Nigeria andin a creative departure for Adichiethe other half in America. The characters in the stories set stateside are stymied by home ties and bemused by America. The coloration and vigor [in those stories] rarely pale, and Adichie's supple talents are on full display in her African tales, which never fail to touch the universal in the particular experience of the aging revolutionary professor, the fallen bourgeois golden boy, the shopping-crazy gal caught up in a marketplace massacre. Like most of usbut perhaps more soAdichie's imagination seems fired by nostalgia for a lost childhood world at least as much as by the challenges of the ever-moving present tense that has swept it so unceremoniously, irretrievably away." Ben Dickinson,Elle "The stories inThe Thing Around Your Neckare so exquisite they grab you by the throat and stop your heart." Elissa Schappell,Vanity Fair "As richly modulated as MacArthur fellow Adichie's hard-hitting novels are, her short stories are equally well-tooled and potent. As her first collection arcs between Nigeria and the U. S., Adichie takes measure of the divide between men and women and different classes and cultures. A meticulous observer of tactile detail and emotional nuance, Adichie moves sure-footedly from the personal to the communal as she illuminates with striking immediacy the consequences of prejudice, corruption, tyranny, and violence in war-torn Nigeria and unaware America. . . . 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." Donna Seaman,Booklist "A fine new collection . . . set in both the United States and Nigeria, where things continue to fall apart. A privileged college student gets involved in gang violence; innocent women flee from a bloody riot; some characters are visited by ghosts, while others are haunted by the memory of war. Yet as one character puts it, an easier life in the United States is cushioned by so much convenience that it feels sterile. Relations between the races are awkward at best. . . . Adichie, a brilliant writer whose characters stay with you for a long time, deserves to be more widely known." Leslie Patterson,Library Journal "The title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short story collection intrigues even before you open the covers. . . . Adichie has written of gang violence and police brutality in her native Nigeria, of deceived wives and old men remembering the Biafran war, and of a Muslim and a Christian woman forming a momentary bond while religious riots rage outside their hiding place. 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. . . .The Thing Around Your Neckexplores myriad tensions between new world and old. . . . [Adichie's] tales explore an array of power struggles, and often the story's kick comes from the shifting of that power, the moment of realization or choice that will result in changed lives. It's the hint at these lives beyond the final lines that reminds one of what a good n


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Created: 07/17/09

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Review For: The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009, Hardcover)

I have read other literary works by this author. her first book that i read was "half of a yellow sun" and since i enjoyed the book so much, i subsequently bought her other titles including the thing around your neck. i love the author's use of simple eloquent narrative prose to bring her tales to light. You can almost imagine being there present and part of the story. There is an indepth understanding of her characters. the narrative encompases love violence and betrayal which draws the reader in deeper into the characters of the book.

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