International Reads: The Thing Around Your Neck


I tend to gravitate to stories about immigration or stories about people in different countries outside of the United States. After reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (which I absolutely loved), I needed to pick up another of her books. I found The Thing Around Your Neck at a local library. A collection of short stories that ties characters to Nigeria and the U.S.

The first two stories were difficult for me to get into. I try to figure out if there is a common theme or something that connects the stories together. It felt as if there were no common theme. Once I got to the third story though, was when I felt I knew the characters better and their mindsets. I knew what choices they made and the influence their culture had on such decisions.

My favorite stories were Imitation, On Monday the Last Week, and the Arrangers of Marriage. All three stories were about different women that immigrated to the United States. All three of the women immigrated as a result of their husbands but their transition has not necessarily been easy. A mix of doubt in their marriages and experiencing a new culture while also missing their Nigerian culture, result in complex but intriguing stories. It goes to show that adjustment to the United States is never easy and the perspective from women is always interesting considering the agency of women and how much influence they have in their choices.

This is a great book if you’re looking for short stories or want to know more about Nigeria and their immigrant experiences. You can read more about The Thing Around Your Neck by checking out the Goodreads page where you can find people’s reviews and a quick summary.


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