The Thing Around Your Neck
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Review by Xinyi (PPE)
I picked up this short novel collection because of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s fantastic TED Talk on “The danger of a single story” (which, by the way, is a must-watch!) I stumbled upon it when I was trying not to doze off during my English class. I am fascinated by how Adichie mentioned the importance of diverse narratives, and how stories can both empower and control us. I became curious about how she weaves her own experiences, identity struggles, and immigration stories into her writing.
The book is a refreshing read, with twelve intriguing short stories with complex characters, dealing with clashes of values, the aftermath of colonial history, societal expectations, and identity dilemmas. My favourite story is “The Thing Around Your Neck”. Its subtle portrayal of the challenges faced by a Nigerian female immigrant is both heartbreaking and thought-provoking. Each short story is an easy read, completely standalone from the others, and would not take longer than half an hour to finish. It has some of the most memorable plot twists, lovable characters and (surprisingly) relatable narrators.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book for a witty and enjoyable leisure read. Plus, it deepened my understanding of feminist theory and postcolonial analysis. The detailed description of the clash of classical Western epistemological frameworks and traditional indigenous values is also a good complement to traditional texts required in political theory. In my Oxford review, I even get to connect Adichie’s feminist ideas with Audre Lorde to give a more comprehensive analysis of radical feminism and provide critical reflection on the current societal system.
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie