Monday, March 28, 2011

That Thing Around Your Neck / by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In America, a young Nigerian girl woman finds the emotional gulf growing between herself and her American boyfriend when she tries to explain to him the reason she still wears her traditional neckpiece. Elsewhere, a privileged Nigerian-American college student becomes embroiled in a bloody turf war when he's enticed into the gangland underworld while back home in Nigeria, a woman bystander is caught in the middle of a Lagos street riot. When a smart young Nigerian immigrant girl goes to live with relatives in Maine, her first impression is the striking convenience of everyday things of which all Americans seem to enjoy. Family meals full of food from the native country make her think how good life really is until an incident involving her uncle shows her just how "give-and-take" America can be.

At only 31, Nigerian author Adichie has already had quite a career. Her recent novel Half of a Yellow Sun met with worldwide acclaim and several of the same short stories in this, her most recent outing, have appeared in the The New Yorker. In That Thing Around Your Neck, Some characters are visited by ghosts while others are haunted by the memory (and ongoing reality) of war in their midst. Still others find out just what it takes to make it as an immigrant. Stories surround mostly young people living America and Nigeria (Fifty years following the country's independence and things continue to 'fall apart'), dwelling on the sacrifices made, promises kept (or broken) and the largely problematic confrontations which some have dealing with just how they fit in. Each story's observations illuminate the culture roles in the lives of so many of the world's immigrants. (FIC ADICHIE)

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