The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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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 the west. 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 I’m sure it will be 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! She gets my vote for a Nobel Prize – how many books do you have to have written to qualify as a ‘body of work?’  Sorry for gushing, but talent like this needs to be read by everyone!

Highly recommended to everyone!!


I’m really looking forward to reading Half of a Yellow Sun next week, and hope it will have the character depth and plot complexity to become my third, five star read of the year.

Is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie one of your favourite authors?

Which of her books do you like the best?

Will you be rushing out to buy a copy of this one as soon as  it is released?

If you can’t wait until June then you could order a copy from the UK – just click on the book cover above!

Have you ever ordered a copy of a book from another country, just to get it a few weeks earlier?

I’ve ordered a copy of Sarah Water’s new book, The Little Stranger from America, just so I can read it a few weeks before it is released here in the UK!!

I look forward to hearing all your thoughts!

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  1. megan says:

    I loved Purple Hibiscus! And I’ve got Half a Yellow Sun at home, but haven’t been able to get into yet – I have to be in the right frame of mind, I think.

    Am very excited about this short story collection though, particularly after reading your raving review :)

    I’ve ordered loads of books from other countries, but generally only if they’re cheaper than in Australia or if it’s a hassle to find them here :)

  2. Sandy says:

    Wow! That is one of the most glowing reviews I think I’ve ever read from you. I’ve never dabbled in short stories, although I mean to eventually. I guess when I do, I will start here!

  3. Violet says:

    I am definitely buying this. Just her name is enough. I don’t need to read any reviews or ask anyone either. I have that much faith in her as a writer. I have read just Half of a Yellow sun and loved it. I have Purple hisbiscus in my TBR pile. But I have read a lot of her short stories online.

    Glad you liked the book…

  4. Jackie says:

    Sandy – I’m trying to be a bit more positive in my reviewing, although I know I’m not that successful sometimes! I’ve just written a review for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, the audio book I’ve just finished, and made a real effort to highlight the positives, even though I didn’t like it!! Keep an eye out for my posivie, negative review coming soon!!!

  5. Jackie says:

    Violet – When I finished reading the book there was a little note explaining where some of the short stories had been published before. I was shocked to discover that 11 of the 12 stories had already been published somewhere else, so I don’t want to disappoint you, but you’ve probably read a lot of them already. They are amazing though.

  6. Jackie says:

    Megan – Perhaps you should join us for the Half of a Yellow Sun read-along next week? Maybe reading it with other people will help you to get into it?

  7. Sarah says:

    I’ve enjoyed both Purple Hibiscus and Half of a yellow sun. The later flys by, it is so involving that you really don’t notice the length.

    I’m looking forward to reading The Thing Around Your Neck before I see Adichie speak at the Sydney Writer’s Festival in May.

  8. Jo says:

    You make this sound brilliant. I’ve never read anything by this author, although I’ve been meaning to. Any suggestions on which to start with?

  9. Jackie says:

    Sarah – I’m so jealous that you are going to see her! She always sounds so interesting whenever I’ve heard her being interviewed – make sure you let us know all about it afterwards!

  10. Jackie says:

    Jo – I don’t think it really matters which one you start with. I read Purple Hibiscus first, and loved it. This collection is a great introduction, but the fact that they are short stories means you don’t get to experience her talent for complex plot building.

    I haven’t read Half of a Yellow Sun yet, but lots of people started with that one, and loved it too! I guess my answer is that it doesn’t really matter – they are all great! Read whichever one you happen to find first!

  11. Violet says:

    oh…thanks for the info, but I guess there would be no harm in actually having them in printed form :)

  12. Beth F says:

    Sounds super but I’m so often left wanting when I read short stories that I usually avoid them.

  13. Jackie says:

    Violet – Yes, and I’m sure that you will find some you haven’t read too.

    Beth – I’m not a big fan of short stories either. This selection still leave you wanting more, but if you were ever going to read some, then these are the ones to get!

  14. 3m says:

    I love Adichie and I will definitely be getting this book one way or the other. I’ve thought of buying it from the Book Depository (which I love and use quite a bit), but we’ll see.

    Glad to see you enjoyed it, I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  15. Rebecca Reid says:

    I haven’t read any of this author, but I’ve heard great things! I’m going to move her up my to read list…sounds like a great collection of stories. Too bad I’ll have to wait!

  16. I love short stories, so I hope to get this one. Thanks for the glowing recommendation. :)

  17. Laza says:

    I loved Half of a Yellow Sun. Can’t wait to read this!

  18. Matthew says:

    I have never heard of this, but do have Half of a Yellow Sun on the shelf. Now do you think I should read the story collection first? :)

  19. Jackie says:

    Matthew – I don’t think you need to read the short story collection first. Half of a Yellow Sun was published first, so almost everyone will have read this collection last, but I won’t be able to give you a definate answer to that until I’ve read Half of a Yellow Sun next week!

  20. Jackie says:

    3M – I’ve had good experiences with the Book Depository too! I’ll have to look into getting one of their buttons for my sidebar.

  21. That sounds very interesting. I have never heard of this author. I am wondering what you think of Midnight’s Children. It wasn’t my favorite of his but I love his books in general.

  22. Jackie says:

    Candy Schultz – I haven’t really started Midnight’s Children – I’m planning to read it over the weekend. I read the first chapter, to get a feeling for how long it would take me to read, and whether I’d like it or not, and I think I will enjoy it. It is going to be quite a slow read – the length of each paragraph is quite off-putting, but I loved the quality of the writing. Hopefully I’ll have a proper review up next week.

  23. JoAnn says:

    Wow – the first sentence sure got my attention! I’ve been reading more short stories lately and will definitely buy this when it’s released.

  24. Karen says:

    I’m feeling very lucky at the moment because both this book and the new Sarah Waters book are currently out in Australia – yay!! I haven’t read this one yet but will be rushing out after work today to pick it up. I was going to read it but your review has definitely made me push it up my list! Thanks!

  25. Jackie says:

    Karen – Arrrrghhh! I should have checked if the Sarah Waters book was released anywhere else in the world earlier…..nevermind, I’ll know for next time! Are you planning to read The Little Stranger soon?

  26. Simon S says:

    I HAVE to read this, I loved Half of a Yellow Sun and this sounda absolutely fantastic. I am not the most ardent fan of short stories and only a few authors for me do it wondefully I would imagine Chimamanda is another one of those.

  27. Kim says:

    This sounds great – I’ll put it on my list and look out for it. I’m not usually into short stories but after this glowing review, Jackie, I’ll give it a whirl.

  28. Jackie says:

    Simon/Kim – I hope it doesn’t disappoint you, as I said, I’m not normally a fan of short stories either, but somehow Chimamanda can get you really involved in her characters really quickly.

    I can’t wait to read everyone else’s reviews for this one!

  29. Dorte H says:

    This sounds like something I should read – not for my crime hobby, but because I am an English teacher :)

  30. I’ve been reading, and enjoying, more short story collections lately. I liked Purple Hibiscus and will have to find this one. Thanks for mentioning it.

  31. Karen says:

    Hi Jackie – The Little Stranger is definitely on my list (it’s a long list though as I am sure you can relate to so I’m not sure when it will actually get read!!).

  32. Kathrin says:

    Ah, with your review of The Thing Around Your Neck I’m even more curious about our Half A Yellow Sun read-along!
    I’ll start reading it tonight :-)

  33. Jackie says:

    I look forward to reading all your reviews of it in the coming months!

    Kathrin – I’m hoping to start it tonight too! Fingers crossed Half of a Yellow Sun lives up to my expectations!


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