Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a 2003 O Henry Prize winner, and was shortlisted for the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing and the 2004 Orange Prize. In Purple Hibiscus, she recounts the story of a young Nigerian girl searching for freedom. Although her father is greatly respected within their community, 15-year-old Kambili knows a frighteningly strict and abusive side to this man. In many ways, she and her family lead a privileged life, but Kambili and her brother, Jaja, are often punished for failing to meet their father’s expectations. After visiting her aunt and cousins, Kambili dreams of being part of a loving family. But a military coup brings new tension to Nigeria and her home, and Kambili wonders if her dreams will ever be fulfilled. Adichie’s striking and poetic language reveals a land and a family full of strife, but fighting to survive. A rich narration by South African native Lisette Lecat perfectly complements this inspiring tale.
"One of the best novels to come out of Africa in years." (The Baltimore Sun)
“Prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes. . . . Adichie's understanding of a young girl's heart is so acute that her story ultimately rises above its setting and makes her little part of Nigeria seem as close and vivid as Eudora Welty's Mississippi.” (The Boston Globe)
"A sensitive and touching story of a child exposed too early to religious intolerance and the uglier side of the Nigerian state." (J. M. Coetzee)
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I liked Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun much better, but this book, once you get into it, is really good.
I love the fact that Igboland plays a prominent role in Adichie's stories. I'm from Tanzania, but Adichie makes me feel like I now know Nsukka and Enugu, though I've never been. It's refreshing to hear names and places that are historically accurate, and not generic. The story does an excellent job of telling a story, the foundations of which could be found in any culture, and making it a distinctly African story. Great job!
There were definitely times when her South African accent came through or when her pronunciation of certain Igbo words were a bit off, but it won't be noticeable to most listeners.
I listened to it on a cross-country road trip, so, yes.
A good book, a bit too dramatized
- Bogdana Botez