Top positive review
A Must Read
Reviewed in India on 24 October 2020
CHIMAMANDA. A name that I heard three years ago. A name that I was trying so desperately to get familiar with. A name, to be honest, I fell in love with instantly. It is also a name that I found on Facebook during a time when she had written what I consider to be her masterpiece. Along with all that, it is also a name that I am glad I didn't try to read three years earlier because had I read her then, I know I would have pretended to like her words because I knew she was 'cool'.
I received The Thing Around Your Neck as a birthday present from a 'friend' whose friendship, unfortunately, didn't last long. Chimamanda did, though. I don't remember ever thinking about why I wasn't picking her up even though her book was waiting to be read. Her art of simplified truances were not for me. Now, the story is different. Books have taught me a lot and I have matured enough to bask in the sinful glory of a dreamless haze; sinful because how can someone, in a language that is being used everyday, create something as mesmerizing and as private as this?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck, is, for me, like a fabled dream. African cultures have always drawn me towards themselves. The sheer monopoly with which writers from Africa or those of African origin carve their stories and tales in words is something with which I will be always biased. It is the history of slavery that had first drawn me to African writings and it is the same history of slavery, of oppression, of British colonialism and of the neo-colonialism that constantly perpetuates strength in me. African history is a history that taught me there is more to 'national' and 'cultural' history than what we generally see.
This book of short stories contain twelve short stories by Adichie. There is something about short stories that I both like and dislike - like the gorgeousness of pain, it stays and tingles long after the effect becomes invisible to the peering eyes. Be it the growing up of a boy in Cell One or the opaqueness of future of The American Embassy, the ghosts of Ghost or the contracts of The Arrangers of Marriage, the freedom of The Jumping Hill or the hate of Tomorrow Is Too Far - I want to carry it all. I want to carry Nkem's hopefulness, Chika's searchful eyes, 'you''s nothingness, Udenna's memories, Kamara's cage and Afamefuna's courage. I wish I had it in me to carry all of it but I know that I am too weak to bear all the weight.
This short story collection needs to be read by all of us. If it is possible, I'd even say that it needs to be re-read if you could spare a few moments to it. It is devastating, chilling, nauseating and yet it is so beautiful and glorious that it wouldn't part away with your skin. Read it. You must.