‘Zikora’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie hardly needs an introduction, but (controversial statements aside) her stories collected in The Thing Around Your Neck (2009) and elsewhere have long been favourites of mine. Her latest story, ‘Zikora’, was released by Amazon Kindle Singles, with the hope that high-speed publishing would permit the narrative to “join the cultural conversation ahead of the US election”.

The story opens with an Igbo DC lawyer (Zikora) awaiting an epidural while she is giving birth in an American hospital. As she experiences the trauma of childbirth as a single mother with her own demanding mother by her side, old memories resurface: her pregnancy, her being abandoned by the father of her child, her parents’ fraught relationship during her childhood, her abortion as a teenager. The story’s very down-to-earth tone, its attention to small details and the complex and layered mother-child relationship at its heart are very relatable and moving.

First published on Amazon Kindle Singles, 2021

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