A gracious review of The Thing Around Your Neck on this excellent Ghanaian literary blog. Kinna comments,
"Although I appreciate the universality of her themes, I find Adichie’s insistence on situating every story she writes in the Igbo community unsettling. For an African like me, who looks to a unified view of the continent, who sees Africa as greater than the sum of its individual groups, I had hoped that Adichie works would reflect the diversity that is Nigeria."
This opens up an interesting and contentious topic. On the one hand, one might say that the best writers write about what they know - in this case observations of middle-class campus life in the South-East of Nigeria, and more recently, elements of diasporic experience in the US. On the other hand, the writer's mettle can perhaps only be truly tested when they venture well beyond their spatio-temporal comfort zones. One might then wonder why the kaleidoscopic everythingelseness of Nigeria is bracketed out in favour of what is sometimes referred to as 'the Igbotic': the obsession with a particular culture, a specific narrative and what amounts to a single story.
I sometimes dream of a book which demonstrates the colonial/post-colonial artifice of ethnicity and 'tribe' on the continent. In Nigeria's case, a tome exposing the myth of indigeneity is sorely needed, but that's another topic. In terms of story, both within Nigeria, the sub-region and across the continent, building up strands of connectedness and interconnection has to be the way forward, as Africa increasingly learns to talk and listen to itself.