Tag Archives: Nigeria

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Review

The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of short stories from the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She explores so many topics and themes in these short stories, with elegance and grace she holds the readers attention and just doesn’t let go.

She writes about the experiences of Nigerians living in contemporary America, about Nigerian women who find themselves in America for various reasons. Betrayed by the men they looked up to, who were supposed to give them bright futures. In ‘Imitation’, ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, ‘The Shivering’ and ‘The Arrangers Of Marriage’ she writes about their disappointment; in men, in life, in America.  She also writes about the onset of colonisation in ‘The Headstrong Historian’. About Nigerian politics, political unrest and the biafran war in ‘Cell One’, ‘A Private Experience’, ‘Ghosts’ and ‘The American Embassy’. About homosexuality in ‘on Monday of last week’ and ‘The Shivering’.

I love how Chimamanda breaks down the ignorance of the white man in ‘Jumping Monkey Hill’. Where a  collection of writers write about their personal experiences but find themselves dismissed by a white lecherous snobby benefactor who does not believe the things they are going through are truly African. Chimamanda has spoken about the danger of a single story before and I feel like she is reminding us in this short story. Despite claiming to be a keen Africanist having lived on the continent for so long, the character is blind to the fact that Africans can be lesbians or that professional women are expected to present their bodies and sexuality as part of the commodities for sale during the negotiation of contracts. This white man, stands there and argues what the true African experience is and what is a valid story for an African to write.

Adichie reminds us that the African experience is multifaceted, very obviously in ‘Jumping Monkey Hill’ and throughout the collection.

‘The headstrong historian’ is probably the best story in this book. It read like a shout out to Chinua Achebe and was an amazing way to end the collection. However, my favourite of the short stories was ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ because it is so emotional. Because it is a collection of so many niggly feelings that you can’t quite explain. So many questions that you might not even want answered.

The thing around your neck is 5/5 for me, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie creates so many lump in the throat moments. The book was so easy to read and i wished it would not end. Her stories are so deliciously told that only after you have consumed them with gusto do you realise that you have learned so much from her amazing storytelling.

Happy Reading ❤

 

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Review:

I feel late to this party, Things Fall Apart has been a great novel long before I was even born. Nevertheless, here are a few of my thoughts on it.

I love the way Chinua writes, the way he explains traditions and phenomenons are practical and beautiful.

“Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”

This book for me is a story of great sorrow. It is about the loss of culture in the name of civilisation. It is the story of how hundreds of African settlements  were destroyed in the name of western progress. It is a story of the arrogance of western society and I couldn’t be more glad that Chinua Achebe wrote it, lest we forget.

Things fall apart has been criticised by some claiming “nothing interesting happened”. Apart from the slow painful tearing down of a civilisation that just so happened to be different… I found a lot of interesting things did happen. Things happened to Okonkwo and members of his family (No spoilers). There were moments I was on the edge of my seat. But what is considered “interesting” differs from person to person, so let ye be the judge.

On the subject of misogyny, having myself been called a feminazi (for simply asserting that I think men and women should be equal), it’s safe to say I’m a feminist. I won’t sit here and say there was no misogyny present in this book. It portrays women as being owned by their fathers and then by husbands, serving little other purpose than to bear children. Having said that, the book tells us of the high priestess – A woman with the power to veto decisions made by the elders and clansmen. Did someone say bad bitch?

The ending – Unexpected. I hated Okonkwo at first, I expected more resilience and defiance from him. But he was a proud man, and we know what comes before a fall.

 

Happy Reading ❤