|Harper Collins Paperbacks|
the observer Sat 17 October 2009
The short stories in this collection from the Orange prize-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun are linked by themes of family, loss and exile, focusing on clearly drawn characters from Nigeria. In the title story, a young woman moves to America and struggles to settle, loneliness and dislocation threatening to envelop her completely. It's told in the second person, in a manner that is both distant and intimate. A similar sense of dislocation flows through "American Embassy", in which the mother of a murdered child queues to see an official, swaying in the heat, trapped in some dead place beyond grief. Adichie is a skilled storyteller with a fluid, straightforward style and while some of the stories feel constrained by their length, the majority are perfectly balanced.