The Essential Summer Reading List

The Thing Around Your Neck // Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When in typical British fashion you are complaining about the heat, this collection of short stories will be the perfect antidote to your self-contained grievances. The book transports you to the sticky climate of Lagos in Nigeria, narrating political isolation, cultural conflict and the struggle for survival in a country run by a military dictatorship. The book makes for excellent summer reading as stylistically it is light enough to read for pleasure, yet thematically it expresses profound ideas, allowing one to expound upon these due to their not being constrained by the school timetable.

It is not however, simply a ‘story about Africa;’ many of the issues addressed are universal: culture shock, the war waged between romantic love and tradition and the dangers of hypermasculinity. The book utilizes black humour and irony for emotive effect, ensuring the individual stories are linked not only by their cultural origin but by the proficiency of the writing.

It is that particular type of novel which should not be devoured wholeheartedly but gently pored over, allowing one to absorb and understand the nuances of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s unique style of writing. Hence the long summer stretched out ahead of you is the perfect time to begin reading such a beautifully crafted book.

Words by Beth Chaplow

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