Chimimnda Ngozi Adichie, "The Thing Around Your Neck"

You win the visa lottery and leave Lagos for America.

(from The Thing Around Your Neck)

You ended up in Connecticut, in another little town, because it was the last stop of the bus you got on. You walked into the restaurant nearby and said you would work for two dollars less than the other waitresses. The owner, Juan, had inky black hair and smiled to show a bright yellow tooth. He said he had never had a Nigerian employee but all immigrants worked hard. He knew, he’d been there. He’d pay you a dollar less, but under the table, he didn’t like all the taxes they were making him pay.

This one was awesome. It’s the gripping second person story of Akunna, a young woman moving from Nigeria to New England, dealing with all kinds of well-meaning ignoramuses, most notably her trust fund boyfriend whose open-mindedness annoys her from the get-go. Yeah, it’s a little preachy, but the heroine is just so three-dimensional, so fleshed out by each phrase and action, you buy it all. I love the way we experience her annoyance, and sympathize, even though she’s often unable to put her grievances into words.
Read it here.

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