Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. Her first novel `Purple Hibiscus' was published in 2003 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her second novel `Half of a Yellow Sun' won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her short story collection, `The Thing Around Your Neck', was published to critical acclaim in 2009. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards, has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and The Iowa Review. She won a MacArthur `genius' grant in 2009, and in 2010 appeared on the New Yorker's list of the best 20 writers under 40. Her third novel, `Americanah', was published to widespread critical acclaim in 2013. She lives in Nigeria.
This is a fine new collection of 12 short stories by the young Nigerian author of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. The stories are set both in the United States and in Nigeria, where things continue to fall apart. A privileged college student gets involved in gang violence; innocent women flee from a bloody riot; some characters are visited by ghosts, while others are haunted by the memory of war. Yet as one character puts it, an easier life in the United States is cushioned by so much convenience that it feels sterile. Relations between the races are awkward at best. The title story probes the emotional gulf between a young immigrant woman and her well-off white American boyfriend. The closing story, "The Headstrong Historian," is a miniature portrait of the colonial legacy in Nigeria. Adichie, a brilliant writer whose characters stay with you for a long time, deserves to be more widely known. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/09.]-Leslie Patterson, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, RI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun) stays on familiar turf in her deflated first story collection. The tension between Nigerians and Nigerian-Americans, and the question of what it means to be middle-class in each country, feeds most of these dozen stories. Best known are "Cell One," and "The Headstrong Historian," which have both appeared in the New Yorker and are the collection's finest works. "Cell One," in particular, about the appropriation of American ghetto culture by Nigerian university students, is both emotionally and intellectually fulfilling. Most of the other stories in this collection, while brimming with pathos and rich in character, are limited. The expansive canvas of the novel suits Adichie's work best; here, she fixates mostly on romantic relationships. Each story's observations illuminate once; read in succession, they take on a repetitive slice-of-life quality, where assimilation and gender roles become ready stand-ins for what could be more probing work. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
`"The Thing Around your Neck", with its warm and sympathetic heroines and its finely cadenced un-American English prose, demonstrates that she is keeping faith with her talent and with her country.' Lindsay Duguid, Sunday Times
`Her particular gift is the seductive ability to tell a story...Adichie writes with an economy and precision that makes the strange seem familiar. She makes storytelling seem as easy as birdsong.' Jane Shilling, Telegraph
`The writing throughout the book has a verve that propels you forward through the pages. And a pervasive, lightly mocking intelligence gives the whole thing a lively, satirical edge.' James Lasdun, Guardian
`Adichie's spare, poised prose, the coolness of her phrasing, ensures these scenes are achieved without melodrama. And though she writes very specifically about Nigeria, the stories have a universal application.' FT
`An elegant collection. From beginning to end the prose is serene and the characterization deft.' TLS
`Almost every [story], in the way only the most satisfying short stories manage, holds the kernel of something bigger in its fist yet is simultaneously a fully realised, standalone entity. They don't aspire to be novels - that would be a bad thing - but they hum with potential.' Scotsman
`The powerful themes close to Adichie's heart shine through, but never over-shadow writing of clarity and brilliance.' Aminatta Forna, Guardian