“At night, something would wrap itself around your neck, something that very nearly choked you before you fell asleep.”
Twelve short stories, set in Nigeria and New York portrait contemporary Nigerian women, men and their struggles, whether it is because of their spouses (arranged marriages or not), troublesome brothers, religion, same-sex attractions or war.
How can you say so much with so few words? I loved every story, but some stood out more than the others. Imitation is set in USA where a Nigerian housewife is living with her children while the husband works in Nigeria and only spends two months a year with his family. One day she gets a phone call from her best friend who says that her husband has a girlfriend living in their house in Lagos. What would you do in a situation like that?
In A Private Experience, a Christian woman and a Muslim woman have found shelter in an abandoned store during a violent mob destroys the market place where they both went with their relatives. And they have to trust each other despite the fact that the uprising is about religion.
I think this collection of novels is my favourite book by Adichie, having read Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun last year.
“”Is it a good life, Daddy? Nkiru has taken to asking lately on the phone, with that faint, vaguely trembling American accent. It is not good or bad, I tell her. It is simply mine. And that is what matters.”
“Things started to fall apart at home when my brother, Jaja, did not go to communion and Papa flung his heavy missal across the room and broke the figurines on the étagère.”
Kambili never speaks unless she’s spoken to and never smile. Her father is a rich man and a devoted Catholic is admired by everyone. Yet he punishes his family when they aren’t number one in class and when they sin. The biggest sin is to eat at their grandfather’s house, the heathen. He beats his wife so severely that she miscarries. Kambili and Jaja’s rescue is their aunt, their father’s sister, and her small house full of love and laughter.
Another beautiful book by Adichie that I could not put down. It is sad yet very hopeful. It is set in Nigeria, mainly in the university town Nsukka, which also played a major role in Half of a Yellow Sun. The coups and corruption is also part of the background of this book. Needless to say that I loved it. I’m definitely going to teach this book to the right class someday.
This is such an amazing book. Adichie manages to capture both the good intentions of the people in charge and the horrible outcomes. It also captures the mix between traditional indigenous life and modern life. My favourite part was the small book within the book that told the facts about the Biafrans fight for independence. And I really liked that I never had to feel sorry for the characters.