I must confess that I have long had an aversion to short stories. I quickly become immersed in the world of my characters. I quickly form attachments to these almost-real people, and to their welfare. I loathe ambiguity, and hate being left hanging. Short stories, therefore, have always been avoided.
The Thing Around Your Neck changed all that. This is the most beautiful, heartbreaking collection of stories I have read in a long time – if not ever. Exploring themes of family, guilt, loneliness, fear, obligation, culture, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie contrasts life in Nigeria with life in the West through a rich cast of (mostly) female narrators, strong, fully fleshed out figures who live life for the most part with what they’re given, because in Africa, to dictate your own life is almost unheard of.
If like me your world history knowledge, particularly of Africa, is pitiful, you’ll gain so much from her sketches of life in the dusty harmattan, her descriptions of simple food and rich spices, the unfamiliar, many-syllabled names a western tongue trips over.
I came away feeling the richer for having read it and being a part of those characters’ lives for that brief period. That’s all I could ask for, really.
And if you want to add me on Goodreads, I am, as always, eemusings.