Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck collects 12 short stories set across Nigeria and the United States that explore love, grief, parenthood, and belonging.
In “A Private Experience,” two vastly different women find common ground and comfort while fleeing a violent riot. In “Tomorrow is Too Far” – told in second-person voice – a young woman confronts painful memories of the summer her brother died. And in “The Arrangers of Marriage,” a newly immigrated woman discovers harsh truths about her husband.
“She had come to understand that American parenting was a juggling of anxieties, and that it came with having too much food: a sated belly gave Americans time to worry that their child might have a rare disease that they had just read about, made them think that they had the right to protect their child from disappointment and want and failure. A sated belly gave Americans the luxury of praising themselves for being good parents, as if caring for one’s child were the exception rather than the rule.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of three novels — Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah — and one short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck. Born in Nigeria, she now divides her time between there and the United States.
Length: 240 pages
Set in: Nigeria; United States (various)
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