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Extended Audio Sample The Thing around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,008 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Narrator: Adjoa Andoh Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie burst onto the literary scene with her remarkable debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, which critics hailed as “one of the best novels to come out of Africa in years” (Baltimore Sun), with “prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes” (Boston Globe); The Washington Post called her “the twenty-first-century daughter of Chinua Achebe.” Her award-winning Half of a Yellow Sun became an instant classic upon its publication three years later, once again putting her tremendous gifts—graceful storytelling, knowing compassion, and fierce insight into her characters’ hearts—on display. Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

In “A Private Experience,” a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she’s been pushing away. In “Tomorrow Is Too Far,” a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother’s death. The young mother at the center of “Imitation” finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie’s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Adichie excels at the depiction of complicated relationships, familial and romantic...Her language is recognizably Chinua Achebe’s...But Adichie has gone beyond, or away from, Achebe in an important way: she is optimistic. She may have grown up on Enid Blyton, but in her lifetime, she has already seen things that fall apart begin to come back together.”

    New Republic

  • “Fascinating...Most of Adichie’s characters are alone, adrift in a strange physical or emotional landscape...[They] feel invisible, erased. They can’t go home. They want to melt into America. What would it be like to feel that sinister thing, memory, around your neck? Perhaps you can imagine after all.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “Powerful, deftly assembled...Adichie gives us what a first-rate writer should: a keen yet poignant view of the contradiction of the human condition.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “[Adichie’s] tales explore an array of power struggles, and often the story’s kick comes from the shifting of that power, the moment of realization or choice that will result in changed lives. It’s the hint at these lives beyond the final lines that reminds one of what a good novelist Adichie is. There are many characters you would like to travel with further.”

    Financial Times

  • “Insightful and illuminating.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Prose this skillful deserves international acclaim. Insightful, powerful, and brimming with characters that seem to leap from the printed page, this collection is nothing less than a literary feast.”

    Tucson Citizen

  • “Narrator Adjoa Andoh delivers an impressive and engrossing performance, complete with accurate Nigerian accents for the various protagonists, many of whom are strong women or women who are just realizing their strength. Andoh is always sensitive to the tone of the story—by turns delicate or forceful where appropriate.”


  • “Adichie is keenly aware of the particular burdens that come with literary success for an immigrant writer, a so-called hyphenated American...One comes away from The Thing around Your Neck heartened by her self-awareness and unpredicability. She knows what it means to sit at the table, and also what it takes to walk away.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “What’s on display in these stories is a fierce imagination and dazzling use of language that marks Adichie as a writer of impressive reach and achievement...There’s no question that this is a writer to watch, one from whom we can expect great things in the future.”

    Denver Post

  • “Accomplished...These are powerful stories by a masterful writer that perceptively evoke the less celebrated aspects of immigration—loss of place, familiar comforts, and unquestioning acceptance by others—as well as the toll of pervasive authoritarianism back home.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “[Adichie is] a deeply ambitious and justly celebrated writer whose prose is lucid and whose narrative method is simple and straightforward...[These stories] resonate powerfully because of their thematic depth and their author’s ability to understand and reveal her characters.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Outstanding...Adichie embodies a literary cosmopolitanism as expansive and mellifluous as her name: she offers tales that make world literature from American fictions...Her abilities to compress and drive the narrative dazzle us.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “A revealing outsider’s view of America appears in many of these stories...Adichie deftly pulls much from her native country’s troubled past and present, turning it into high and intimate drama...Her words and stories are insightful and provocative and tell us much about the human experience in difficult times.”


  • “[Adichie’s] Americans are outsiders clamoring to be let into society; her upper-class Nigerians are insiders clamoring to be let out of history...Whether these stories reflect the writer’s own experiences, only Adichie knows. That they reflect the lives of her countrymen, there can be no doubt.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Beautifully crafted...Adichie has attracted a lot of attention in her relatively short career...This book will show you why.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “Affecting...Powerful...The Africa in Adichie’s collection isn’t the Africa that Americans are familiar with from TV news or newspaper headlines. Her stories are not about civil war or government corruption or deadly illnesses. She is interested in how clashes between tradition and modernity, familial expectations and imported dreams affect relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children.”

    New York Times

  • “Packing a full world into a few paragraphs is precisely the short-storyteller’s challenge...[Adichie] proves herself worthy of the challenge, building a rich universe in both broad and subtle strokes...Certainly [those stories are] strong enough to stand alone. But the cumulative effect for an American reading them is a history lesson injected with emotional immediacy.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Haunting...[Adichie] writes with wisdom and compassion...Here is one of fiction’s most compelling new voices.”


  • “Whether they live in Nigeria or in the US, the women in Adichie’s stories do not have it easy. One thing they do have, though, is brains. Their suffering is all the more poignant because, deep down, they know the price you pay for not doing what you want in life is incalculable.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A wise and minutely observed update of the American immigrant experience.”

    Village Voice

  • “The coloration and vigor of these stories rarely pale, and Adichie’s supple talents are on full display.”


  • “The stories in The Thing around Your Neck are so exquisite they grab you by the throat and stop your heart.”

    Vanity Fair

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by kathryn | 1/22/2014

    " The stories are all about Nigerians. Some are immigrants to other places, some have returned to Nigeria and some never left. I enjoyed the diversity of the stories -joy, sorrow, fun, style - and would recommend it. I have not read her novel, but would like to check it out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Pravesh Bhardwaj | 1/21/2014

    " I love Adichie's prose and I thoroughly enjoyed both her novels. I had read a couple of stories on New Yorker site before I read the book. Most of the stories here are about the Nigerians in US experience. Among the ones set in Nigeria one is called "The American Embassy" where the protagonist is in queue to get her US visa. I quite enjoyed most of the stories particularly Ghosts, Jumping Monkey Hill, Cell One & A Private Experience. Looking forward to her Novel Americanah. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jac | 1/7/2014

    " Collection of short stories about Nigerian women by a Nigerian woman. The sort of writing thats so palpable and real that it twists up your stomach like a pretzel and wont let you put it down. I think I finished it in under 24 hours. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Xarah | 1/2/2014

    " I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. It was fascinating to delve briefly into the lives of Nigerian people and their good and hard times. I enjoyed how Adichie really brought her characters to life even in such a short amount of space. I also enjoyed how she evoked such strong emotions without going to far and making it seem fake. "

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