Well, the year is gradually coming to an end. For us at Farafina, it was a great year and we would like to say a big thank you to all our partners and friends for their support. Most importantly, we would like to thank those who have been a part of our monthly book reviews. The last one for this year held on Saturday, Dec 5 and it was a huge success(pictures later!)
NEXT newspapers, the number one resource for information, also featured an article in its book section about the review. We have pasted it below. Enjoy reading and Merry Christmas!
Talking through Adichie’s stories
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s collection of short stories ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ (2009), was the book examined during this month’s edition of Farafina’s monthly book review.
The event, which usually holds at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, happened on December 4; and attracted quite a number of people this time around while also generating a lot of debate among them. The guest reviewer, Victor Ehikhamenor watched in amusement while the audience dissected the book among themselves.
However, before the anchor of the event, Inspiration FM’s Wana Udobang, called for contributions from the audience, Ehikamenor reviewed the book in an intellectual yet comprehensible manner. According to Ehikhamenor, the stories in the collection portray all kinds of human emotions ranging from jealousy to sibling rivalry.
In ‘Cell One’, the reviewer drew attention to the damaging effects of a mother’s smothering love. He contrasted this with his own personal experience of growing up with a mother who would not hesitate to whack him when the occasion arose.
He also commented on the title story of the collection, drawing attention to what was already obvious in this particular story; the difficulties of diasporic existence. Referring to the main character in ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ he observed that, “We travel abroad with a whole lot of baggage.” “There were a lot of things around her neck apart from the immigration problems” he added. The story did not have a definite ending and Ehikamenor responded to this, saying, “I think it’s good for a writer to sometimes leave gaps.” He also noted that Adichie had empowered most of the female characters in her stories. He observed her different narrative styles and the stories themselves which were written in different timelines.
There was a question about Adichie’s use of character introspection that at times seemed monotonous as every single detail of the character’s inner life was exposed with some sort of intensity.”Most writers have their strengths. You can almost feel the characters in the stories. I wouldn’t see it as a shortcoming. I think she’s good with characterisation.” He said in response. Another member of the audience thought Adichie was a very compassionate writer.
Yet another expressed disapproval about the fact that ‘Purple Hibiscus’, Adichie’s first novel which won the Commonwealth Writers prize in 2005, was included in the curriculum for Secondary Schools because of what she termed the sexual theme contained in it.
Responses were many, one of which bordered on the fact that the Nigerian society likes to live in denial about the issue of sex, whereas it is very much a reality in the society. “Half of a Yellow Sun is probably a better book for our school curriculum,” a member of the audience expressed.
*The Thing Around Your Neck is available for N 1, 500.