The Thing Around Your Neck
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Knopf • 240 pages

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has already made a name for herself with such novels as Half of a Yellow Sun. In her newest offering, Adichie has gathered together a dozen short stories, each by a single binding theme. Whether her characters are finding trouble in their home country of Nigeria or as immigrants in America, they all face difficulties in establishing themselves as a known commodity and figuring out where they stand within the socio-economic and social system in which they are living.

Adichie, recently the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship Geniuus Award, writes deeply but without being overbearing. The author’s writing lacks pretension and avoids the plea for emotion that leads many of today’s writers to create melodramatic novels of heartbreak and loss. Instead, Adichie achieves an understated emotional rawness which leads to powerful fiction in each of her short stories. —Moira Phillips