Today I’m reviewing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short-story collection, The Thing around your Neck.
This collection is extremely beautiful. Chimamanda’s writing is incredible, not just in her novels but in her short stories as well. She deals with a lot of important and interesting topics, and even has some LGBT+ elements in there, which positively surprised me, because it’s the one thing that has always been missing from her novels.
All of the stories are beautiful, but I want to highlight a few that I particularly loved. The first story in the collection, for example, handles the subject of prison and violence incredibly well, and is a perfect starter. There are lots of fascinating and heartbreaking matters in this collection – writing, sexism, desperation, grief, family, and many more. The title story shows what it’s like to move to a country you don’t know, a country where people are different and don’t understand you, and how hard it can be to adapt to this new world.
There’s also one story that stood out to me in particular, called The Shivering. It’s about religion, and at first I thought I wouldn’t like it because of its topic, but I ended up loving it – it’s not preachy, but it’s about the power that believing in something can give you, and about an unlikely and wonderful friendship.
My favourite story however is one of the last – it’s called Tomorrow is too far, and it’s the one that reminds me the most of Chimamanda’s novels. It has that theme of family and subtle sexism that she writes so wonderfully, and that is present in all of her books. The story is captivating and imaginative, with surprisingly intense characters for such a short piece. I absolutely loved it.
I think this collection shows what a truly talented writer Chimamanda is. Novels are long, time-consuming projects, but short stories are incredibly difficult to write. A good short story needs an entire plot, from beginning to end, developed and perfectly executed in the small page count of a single chapter. Developing characters and making the reader connect with them over such a short amount of time is a complex task, and Chimamanda completed it masterfully. I cannot recommend this collection enough.
‘Till next time and happy reading!