AMERICANAH by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

AMERICANAH is a wonderful epic saga of love, hair, blogs, racism in America, and life in Nigeria. It takes place over a period of about 15 years and is primarily about a Nigerian woman named Ifemelu and her first love, Obinze. The meaning of the word Americanah is a person who returns to Nigeria after spending time abroad.

March 15, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Class - Race - Gender, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), Theme driven, Unique Narrative, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011 edited by Geraldine Brooks

This year’s editor of THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011 is Geraldine Brooks, an accomplished journalist and fiction writer. She says of her selections “that the easiest and the first choices were the stories to which I had a physical response.” I would agree that the best stories in this collection are those that are most visceral and physical in nature. Ms. Brooks also states that “In the end, the stories I fell upon with perhaps the greatest delight were the outliers, the handful or so that defied the overwhelming gravitational pull toward small-canvas contemporary realism.”

October 5, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Short Stories

THE THING AROUND YOUR NECK by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A collection of short stories is one of my favorite genres for reading. It is rare to find a book of short stories that is consistent in quality. When I do, it is a rare gift. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s THE THING AROUND YOUR NECK is just such a gift. It consists of stories about Nigeria and the United States, focusing on the clash of cultures and the cultural misunderstandings and prejudices that the protagonists face. This book also includes the short story that I consider my all-time favorite – “The Headstrong Mistress.” I read it for the third time in this collection. I first read it in The New Yorker, then in the Pen/O’Henry Prize Stories of 2010. It gets better each time I read it.

August 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Africa, Class - Race - Gender, Short Stories, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

PURPLE HIBISCUS by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

From the first few pages PURPLE HIBISCUS leaves no room for doubt as to how the narrative will unfold: the struggle of the “outside” and more natural world against that of domestic oppression and enforced sterility. As the book opens with a domestic crisis which overwhelms the narrator in its almost silent enormity, she retreats to her room.

The netting in the above quote is the perfect simile for the walls and boundaries, real and invisible, which surround the narrator. Whom do they keep out, and whom do they keep in? In an instant, we know from this passage alone that although they may keep the mosquitoes out, they also enforce a separation between the narrator and the leaves and bees: a separation decidedly unwelcome.

August 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Class - Race - Gender, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

PEN/O’HENRY PRIZE STORIES 2010 edited by Laura Furman

This year’s PEN/O’HENRY PRIZE STORIES2010 offers an eclectic collection of wonderful writing. The series is edited by Laura Furman and this year’s judges are Junot Diaz, Paula Fox and Yiyun Li. The stories range from narratives that describe a richness of blessings to the barrenness of empty lives. Some stories offer exhilaration that turns to bleakness, while in others the turn of events is the reverse. The stories take place around the globe and throughout the United States. What they have in common is that for a short while the reader is immersed in the intimacy of a narrative that takes us into other lives and places.

April 19, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, y Award Winning Author