The Thing Around Your Neck lives up to Adichie’s reputation by mixing genres such as fiction, romance and Bildungsroman to create twelve gripping short stories set in the nineteenth century to modern day Nigeria, and the United States. Styles utilised include third-person, first-person, and second-person narration in past, present, and future tenses. The Thing Around Your Neck predominately revolves around Nigerian women who struggle with their relationships, religious and political violence and adjusting t the Western culture.
‘A Private Experience’ follows Chika who hides from a riot in a house with a pregnant Hausa Muslim woman. While the present shows Chika calmly chatting and medically examining the woman, the narrator uses future tense to capture the violence outside, “later, Chika will learn that, as she and the woman are speaking, Hausa Muslims are hacking down Igbo Christians with machetes, clubbing them with stones” (Adichie 2016, p. 62). This story is an open window into the political and religious conflicts between Igbo Christians and Hausa Muslims in Nigeria.
Imitation follows Nkem, who moved to a suburb near Philadelphia years before after marrying a rich man. Now, Nkem not only finds out about her husband’s mistress, she realises he moved her into her old house in Lagos. Following the erosion of a long-distance relationship, the story explores the pressures of immigration, unfulfillment of marriage and follows the reclamation of Nkem’s cultural identity.
The Thing Around Your Neck short story uses second-person narration to place the reader in the shoes of a struggling immigrant. After winning the American visa lottery, Akunna moves in with her uncle in America in search of the American dream, “…they told you: In a month, you will have a big car. Soon, a big house” (Adichie 2016, p. 157). Instead, she ends up facing sexual harassment, poverty, loneliness, and exploitation in the workplace.
We hand-pick our favorites and send you the hottest deals every week!