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Publisher's Summary

From the globally acclaimed, best-selling novelist and author of We Should All Be Feminists, a timely and deeply personal account of the loss of her father:With raw eloquence, Notes on Grief … captures the bewildering messiness of loss in a society that requires serenity, when you’d rather just scream. Grief is impolite ... Adichie’s words put welcome, authentic voice to this most universal of emotions, which is also one of the most universally avoided” (The Washington Post).

Notes on Grief is an exquisite work of meditation, remembrance, and hope, written in the wake of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's beloved father’s death in the summer of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged around the world, and kept Adichie and her family members separated from one another, her father succumbed unexpectedly to complications of kidney failure. 

Expanding on her original New Yorker piece, Adichie shares how this loss shook her to her core. She writes about being one of the millions of people grieving this year; about the familial and cultural dimensions of grief and also about the loneliness and anger that are unavoidable in it. With signature precision of language, and glittering, devastating detail on the page—and never without touches of rich, honest humor—Adichie weaves together her own experience of her father’s death with threads of his life story, from his remarkable survival during the Biafran war, through a long career as a statistics professor, into the days of the pandemic in which he’d stay connected with his children and grandchildren over video chat from the family home in Abba, Nigeria. 

In the compact format of We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, Adichie delivers a gem of a book—a book that fundamentally connects us to one another as it probes one of the most universal human experiences. Notes on Grief is a book for this moment—a work readers will treasure and share now more than ever—and yet will prove durable and timeless, an indispensable addition to Adichie's canon.

©2021 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“This intimate work implores, jerks us out of callousness, moves grief closer.... Notes on Grief lays a path by which we might mourn our individual traumas among the aggregate suffering of this harrowing time. Our guide, Adichie, is uncloaked, full of ‘wretched, roaring rage,’ teaching us how to gather our disparate selves and navigate the still-raging pandemic. In the texture of many of these sentences you can almost feel where the writer has resisted bearing down with her refining tools - language and memory - so as to allow her emotional reality to remain splintered and sharp. Adichie is a consummate world-builder.... Over the course of these 30 fragments, we witness a shift in perspective, an assurance that whatever comes next will never have been created before.” (Sarah M. Broom, The New York Times Book Review, front-page review)

Notes on Grief makes visceral the experience of death and grieving. In poetic bursts of imagistic prose that mirror the fracturing of self after the death of a beloved parent, Adichie constructs a narrative of mourning - of haunting and of love. Notes on Grief becomes a work larger than its slim size, universal in the experience of the loss of a parent, and the struggle to mourn that loss.” (Hope Wabuke, NPR.org) 

“Elegantly spare...brutally frank.... With raw eloquence, Notes on Grief is both achingly personal and stunningly familiar to anyone who has felt the ‘permanent scattering’ [of grief]. Written and published less than a year after her father’s death, Adichie’s pain on these pages is so palpable that one can almost taste its bitterness. She captures the bewildering messiness of loss in a society that requires serenity, when you’d rather just scream. Grief is impolite.... Adichie’s words put welcome, authentic voice to this most universal of emotions, which is also one of the most universally avoided.” (Leslie Gray Streeter, The Washington Post

What listeners say about Notes on Grief

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Grief is the price we pay for love

It was cathartic to read this book and to share her views on grief and loss. There's a particular line that's stuck with me. We often say to people that are grieving that their loved one is in a better place. Like Chimamanda, I don't like or appreciate the presumptuousness of that statement. How do you know? Shouldn't I have been brief or be privy to that information? How or why is it better? Bold comeback but it's true, You can never tell someone how to grieve. All you can do is be supportive and be cognizant of the wording of your condolences. Overall this is an amazing book that touches everything from love, life to death. It also exemplifies the price we pay for loving someone in my case my mom, fiercely and intensely even in death.

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EXCEPTIONAL!

This work was authentic and soul searing. My life's work is supporting hospice bereaved. Thank you for your incredible bravery.

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Comforting

Reading this in a season when I was experiencing grief was extremely comforting. the writing was beautiful. My one complaint is that I wish the book was longer

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A Daughter’s Beautiful Tribute

Adichie writes beautifully of her Father after his Death, encapsulating all of the Stages of Grief: Shock, Denial, Remembrance, Anger and even Acceptance and Joy at his life well lived, not in a clinical or self-help tone, but as a daughter who deeply loved this man who meant so much to her.

Cultural differences aside, anyone who has lost a loved one will identify with her sensitive words. Four Stars.

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Just Wow

I really needed this. The way she writes, the way she tells everything, I felt like she was describing my grief while she described hers. But more than that, it made me feel genuine joy that a beautiful soul such as her father ever blessed the earth with his existence. The absolute massive wave of love you feel between the lines that she has towards her father is just breathtaking. I loved it, I want to listen to it again and I want to add more of her books to my library for sure.

I do recommend buying the audiobook from the website instead of using up a whole credit, since it's only like $7 on the audible website and it's a short audiobook

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Loss

Truly touching and very relatable. Lost my father on August 1 2020 and everyday is still a blur and everyday is a memoriam to a life well lived and a man loved and missed.

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Amazing Zola

After losing our beloved 7 year old Dobie to a sudden heart attack in front of our eyes, we were devastated. We couldn't figure out how to grieve. this book was a big BIG help.

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Wow… just wow!

All I can say is that I lost my father about six months ago and this author was able to put into words the absolute anguish most of us usually can’t describe when we are ripped away from someone we love. The entire work was moving, raw, gripping and so familiar that it comforted me just in knowing I’m not going crazy and I’m not the only one that feels this deeply.

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Comforting and Touching

There has not been a publication by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that I have not enjoyed. Her ability to write so vividly made me grieve with her and family, especially since she lost her mother as well. I was also able to process some losses in my own life. Grief is a process and I am grateful for this book for guiding me through it.

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Amazing

her voice is so soothing this was so beautiful & real i can relate to it a lot